Weatherford Democrat

January 6, 2013

VA adds diagnosable illnesses connected to traumatic brain injuries


Weatherford Democrat

— By JIM VINES

The Department of Veterans Affairs is publishing a proposed regulation in the Federal Register that would change its rules to add diagnosable illnesses which are secondary to service connected Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

The VA proposes to add a new subsection to its adjudication regulation by revising 38 CFR 3.310 to state that if a veteran who has a service-connected TBI also has one of the following illnesses: Parkinson’s, dementia, depression and diseases  of hormone deficiency resulting from pituitary changes. The illness will then be considered service-connected secondary to the TBI.

Service connection under the proposed rule depends in part upon the severity of the TBI (mild, moderate or severe) and the period of time between the injury and onset of the secondary illness. However, the proposed rule clarifies that it does not preclude a veteran from establishing direct service connection even if those time and severity standards are not met. It also defines the term mild, moderate and severe, consistent with Department of Defense guidelines.

Comments on the proposed rule will be accepted over the next 60 days. A final regulation will be published after consideration of all comments are received. Specific information about the Veteran Brain Injury Center is available at www.dvbic.org.

VA trademarks GI Bill name

The VA announced that the GI Bill is now a registered trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the VA is the sole owner of the mark. President Obama on April 26 signed Executive Order 13607 directing the VA, Department of Defense and the Department of Education to undertake a number of measures to stop deceptive and misleading promotional efforts that target the GI Bill's educational benefits of service members, veterans and eligible family members and survivors.

One of the key components of the order was for the VA to register the term “GI Bill” as a trademark in order to protect individuals and ensure they are directed to the right resources to make informed decisions.

In addition, the VA obtained the rights to the gibill.com website after the original owners agreed to give up the site. The VA is taking a proactive approach in continuously taking action to eliminate fraudulent marketing and recruiting practices.

The VA will issue terms of use for the GI Bill within the next six months. For more information on GI Bill programs, visit www.gibill.va.gov or call 1-888-442-4551 to speak with a GI Bill representative.

Speak to you again next week.

Jim Vines is commander of AmVets Post 133.