Department of Defense to Address Sexual Assault in the Military

Legal Help for Veterans is a law firm helping veterans get the benefits they deserve.

Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) June 26, 2019 – Acting Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan announced in a memo that the Department of Defense has created the Sexual Assault Accountability and Investigation Task Force to investigate the pervasive issue of sexual assault in the military and to improve the processes surrounding it.

Shanahan said that the task force was established out of necessity after the “unacceptable” results of the 2018 Report on Sexual Assault and Harassment in military academies. The task force intends to review policies and processes surrounding sexual assault and make recommendations on how to better them as well as how to protect the rights of the victims of sexual crimes and those accused of them.

“Sexual assault within the military is a terrible problem,” says James G. Fausone, lead attorney at Legal Help for Veterans, and a veteran himself. “Given the devastating effect on the lives of survivors of sexual assault, it is imperative the government address it completely and implement real change to prevent it.”

The task force aims to uphold the integrity of the military justice system and provide improved support to victims of sexual misconduct.
Legal Help for Veterans is a firm which represents veterans and their family members in matters of federal benefits. The firm is comprised of former service members who understand what it means to have served our country.

Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC
41700 West Six Mile Road, Suite 101
Northville, MI 48168
Toll Free Phone: 800.693.4800

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Seventy-One Percent of Youth Ineligible for the Military, Pentagon Says

Legal Help for Veterans is a law firm helping veterans get the benefits they deserve.

Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) June 19, 2019 – According to data from the Pentagon, 71 percent of young people are ineligible for military service thanks to several complex social and physical issues, including obesity, criminal records or not graduating high school.

This leaves the approximately 30 percent of young people who are qualified to be recruited by the military, colleges and potential employers. While this is good for them, it poses a potential threat to national security if the numbers continue to decline.

“This is an issue that cannot be accepted at face value,” says James G. Fausone, lead attorney at Legal Help for Veterans and a veteran himself. “We have a greater percentage of youth qualified for military service.”

Other factors that may affect eligibility are taking prescription medication for conditions like ADHD or tattoos and other permanent body modifications, like ear gauges. These requirements may be loosened. For example, during the war in Iraq the military changed the acceptable amount of body fat.

A solution for this issue is not simple. Many of the things which keep America’s young people from being qualified for service, and in the job market too, are deeply rooted problems within society.

According to the Department of Defense, only one percent of youth are both eligible and willing to be recruited. Every year around 180,000 men and women enlist for active-duty military service.

Legal Help for Veterans is in Northville, Michigan and is proud to handle only veteran disability claims.

Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC
41700 West Six Mile Road, Suite 101
Northville, MI 48168
Toll Free Phone: 800.693.4800

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VA Expands Mental Health Coverage, Other-Than-Honorable Discharges Potentially Eligible

Legal Help for Veterans is a law firm helping veterans get the benefits they deserve.

Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) June 12, 2019 – A new law has expanded mental health coverage to other-than-honorably discharged veterans through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

The VA has been accused of mishandling the implementation of the change and failing to effectively notify potentially eligible veterans. The new law is an expansion of a 2017 program which granted some other-than-honorable discharges access to acute mental health care services during a crisis. Eligible vets can now receive ongoing mental health care outside of a crisis situation. The VA had 180 days after the law went into effect in March 2018, but it did not do so until January 2019 when it sent letters to some veterans who were potentially eligible.

“Veterans who have an other-than-honorable discharge from the military are particularly at risk for mental health issues and suicide,” says James G. Fausone, lead attorney at Legal Help for Veterans in Northville, Michigan. “They can face significant barriers to getting care.”

An other-than-honorable discharge is issued when a service member is released from military service for misconduct. This leaves them unable to collect any VA benefits except in a few cases, such as when the misconduct was caused by PTSD or other service-related trauma. The new law will not entitle them to other VA healthcare or disability compensation.

There are an estimated 500,000 veterans with an other-than-honorable discharge status and the VA estimates it has treated less than one percent of them in each of the last two years — 2,850 in 2018 and 940 in 2017. Seventy percent of this care was for mental health issues.

Given the VA’s failure to effectively notify eligible vets of the new law, veterans may qualify for this coverage and not know it. It is important to check for eligibility.

James G. Fausone is a military veteran with years of experience in the legal field.

Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC
41700 West Six Mile Road, Suite 101
Northville, MI 48168
Toll Free Phone: 800.693.4800

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Hundreds of Veterans Sue 3M for Hearing Loss Due to Defective Earplugs

Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) May 28, 2019 – A federal judicial panel has decided that more than 640 pending lawsuits accusing 3M Company of knowingly providing defective combat earplugs to the U.S. military will be consolidated in the Northern District of Florida. The earplugs allegedly caused hundreds of service members to suffer hearing problems.

Veterans and other service members alleged that 3M’s dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs had a defective design that failed to adequately protect their hearing during combat and weapons training. The flaw caused them to experience hearing loss and high-pitched ringing in the ears, a condition called tinnitus.

“Veterans relied on the earplugs to keep their hearing safe from the loud noises they are often exposed to during military service,” commented Florida veterans lawyer David W. Magann. “They had a reasonable expectation that the devices were doing what they were supposed to rather than harming their hearing. The affected service members deserve compensation for 3M’s mistake and failure to adequately warn them of the defects.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs has identified tinnitus as the most common disability among veterans. More than 2.7 million individuals receive benefits for the hearing condition.

The lawsuits follow a July 2018 settlement between the U.S. Department of Justice and 3M over allegations that the company sold earplugs with hazardous design problems to the military from 2003 to 2015. The faulty earplugs exposed more than 800,000 service members to hearing damage. 3M agreed to a $9.1 million settlement to resolve the lawsuit. However, the company did not admit liability.

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation selected Judge Margaret Casey Rodgers of the Northern District of Florida to preside over the multidistrict federal cases and accommodate the national scope of the lawsuits. Rodgers is also a military veteran.

The panel said that centralizing the lawsuits in one court would be convenient for all parties involved and facilitate efficient litigation. The cases involve common issues including the testing, design, marketing and sale of the earplugs. 3M originally sought for the lawsuits to be consolidated in Minnesota, where the manufacturing company is headquartered.

David W. Magann, P.A.
Main Office:
156 W. Robertson St.
Brandon, FL 33511
Call: (813) 657-9175

Tampa Office:
4012 Gunn Highway #165
Tampa, Florida 33618


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Voice Analysis Software Shows Promise as PTSD Diagnosis Tool for Veterans

Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) May 14, 2019 – Researchers have developed voice analysis software that can help identify post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in veterans by analyzing their speech. A recent study used an artificial intelligence (AI) program to analyze vocal characteristics such as rhythm and tone after training it on how to classify people based on speech examples.

According to the findings, the AI could distinguish which individuals had PTSD and which did not with 89 percent accuracy. Researchers recorded hours-long speech samples from 53 Afghanistan and Iraq veterans with PTSD linked to their service. They also interviewed 78 former service members who did not have the mental health condition.

The samples were processed by voice software from Stanford Research Institute (SRI) International, which is the company that developed Apple’s Siri voice assistant. The software produced 40,526 speech segments for analysis.

“The research seems promising for easier, more accurate PTSD diagnosis in the future,” commented Florida veterans lawyer David W. Magann. “Such technology can help facilitate early intervention to identify veterans who need to be evaluated for PTSD. Veterans who are diagnosed with it can then seek helpful treatments and receive the benefits they need rather than struggling with their mental health.”

The software linked specific speech patterns with PTSD. The voices of veterans with PTSD were identified as having unclear speech, longer hesitations and a “lifeless, metallic tone.” Such voice features have long been thought to help diagnose the mental condition.

According to Dimitra Vergyri, head of the Speech Technology and Research Laboratory at SRI International, the AI uses speech analysis to determine an individual’s state in terms of how they are feeling, their thought patterns and quality of communication, as well as their physical and mental health.

The study did not examine the science behind PTSD and vocal patterns. However, researchers noted the existence of theories on how a person’s speech can be affected when traumatic events alter the way the brain processes emotions. They are aiming to continue training and enhancing the AI tool in order to qualify for government permission to use the software clinically in the future.

New Law Helps Veteran Business Owners

Legal Help for Veterans is a law firm helping veterans get the benefits they deserve.

Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) March 27, 2019 – A new law signed by President Trump earlier this year will help veteran entrepreneurs start and build their businesses.

The Veterans Small Business Enhancement Act adds veterans to the list of people eligible to receive federal surplus personal property, such as office furnishings, scientific equipment and heavy machinery. Other beneficiaries of this unclaimed surplus property are female and minority business owners, as well as Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs) like the American Legion and VFW.

The legislation was introduced by Senators Tammy Duckworth, D-IL, John Kennedy, R-LA, and Dick Durbin, D-IL. It has widespread support from both parties and VSOs nationwide. According to Senator Duckworth, there are over two and a half million veteran owned businesses with more to come in the future as many of the men and women who served during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are ending their military careers and entering the private sector.

The General Services Administration distributes federal surplus personal property in partnership with the Small Business Administration and other agencies. When the federal government no longer needs the extra items it passes them along to entrepreneurs. This saves the government the cost of disposing of or keeping up the items, which can be in the millions of dollars. By using it to help small business owners instead, it stimulates the economy and creates jobs.

Lead Attorney for Legal Help for Veterans and military veteran, James G. Fausone, says “We need to do everything we can as a country to help our military service men and women succeed in their civilian lives. Allowing them to benefit from federal surplus property could really help a veteran start a business.”

Fausone himself may have been able to benefit from this new law at one point in his career. He is an experienced attorney who works with veterans to solve a variety of legal issues at Legal Help for Veterans, his firm in Northville, Michigan.

Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC
41700 West Six Mile Road, Suite 101
Northville, MI 48168
Toll Free Phone: 800.693.4800

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Judge Rules Male-Only Draft Requirement Unconstitutional

Legal Help for Veterans is a law firm helping veterans get the benefits they deserve.

Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) March 20, 2019 – A federal judge in Houston, Texas recently ruled that excluding women from being required to register for the draft is unconstitutional. As the ban on females in combat was lifted in 2015 there is now no legal reason for them to not register as men do.

The challenge to the existing draft laws came from the National Coalition for Men, a men’s rights group. They claimed that the gender ban violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause.

The judge in the case, Judge Gray H. Miller of Federal District Court in the Southern District of Texas, considered a 1981 Supreme Court ruling that said a ban on females signing up for the draft was legal as they were forbidden from combat at the time. Now that they are allowed to hold any military position for which they are qualified, he reasoned that they should also be eligible for the draft.

The Military Selective Service Act requires all men to register for the draft upon turning 18. They are eligible for conscripted service until they turn 25. Failure to register can result in fines, jail time or the denial of federal programs and services like student loans. The draft has not been utilized in 40 years, since the Vietnam War.

Lead attorney at Legal Help for Veterans, a law firm in Northville, Michigan that serves military families, James G. Fausone, a veteran himself, says, “Every door is now open to women in the military, which is a wonderful thing. Everyone stands to benefit from the full talents and abilities of the population should the need arise.”

The ruling is only symbolic for now but it comes just as the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service has been studying the draft system and contemplating its future.

Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC
41700 West Six Mile Road, Suite 101
Northville, MI 48168
Toll Free Phone: 800.693.4800

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Court Rules Blue Water Vietnam Veterans Are Eligible for Disability Benefits

Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) March 1, 2019 – A federal appeals court decided on January 29 that Vietnam War veterans who developed health problems due to Agent Orange exposure while serving on offshore ships were entitled to disability benefits. The ruling means more than 50,000 veterans nationwide may now be able to receive several thousand dollars in disability payments each month.

A 9-2 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed past court rulings backing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA has for years denied the disability claims of “blue water” Navy veterans who patrolled waters off Vietnam’s coastline. The department claimed they were ineligible for the same benefits as service members who were stationed inland.

“The court ruling marks an important step in the effort to win benefits for all veterans exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam, no matter where they were located,” commented Florida veterans lawyer David W. Magann. “The hope is that the VA will now extend disability payments to blue water Navy veterans. These service members, who sacrificed their own health, have been suffering from the effects of toxic exposure for a long time through no fault of their own.”

Currently blue water veterans can receive medical treatment for their illnesses through the VA. However, they cannot receive disability benefits unless they prove their health problems are directly linked to toxic exposure while on duty. That is not the case for other Vietnam veterans, who are awarded presumptive benefits for ailments linked to Agent Orange exposure. The U.S. military sprayed the cancer-causing chemical herbicide to destroy crops in Vietnam.

Advocates for blue water veterans cited research that indicated they were exposed to Agent Orange through contaminated water used for drinking and laundry on board their ships. VA officials have argued that the studies do not warrant presumption of Agent Orange exposure for the group and fought legislative efforts to reverse their decision. In their ruling, federal judges sided with advocates saying that obtaining proof of exposure is impossible and unjust. Blue water veterans should be given the benefit of the doubt when it comes to showing their medical conditions are connected to toxic exposure.

The court decision centered on a case filed by 73-year-old Alfred Procopio Jr. who was stationed on a vessel off the Vietnam coast. Procopio was denied disability benefits for claims linked to diabetes and prostate cancer due to Agent Orange exposure. He was deemed ineligible because he was not located “on the landmass or the inland waters of Vietnam.”

VA spokesman Curt Cashour said the department is reviewing the recent court decision. The government may launch a Supreme Court appeal.

VA Expands Telehealth Program with Walmart, T-Mobile Partnerships

Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) February 18, 2019 – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced a series of new partnerships in an effort to expand its telehealth network and improve access to health services for veterans living in remote areas. The agency has established virtual care programs with T-Mobile, Walmart and Philips.

Walmart stores will have telemedicine stations for veterans in rural locations. Private rooms will enable them to video conference with VA medical professionals across the United States for both basic checkups and specialty appointments. T-Mobile has arranged to provide free access to the VA’s video health app on digital devices to eliminate potential cost barriers preventing veterans from accessing telehealth options.

“It is great to see that there are strides being made toward expanding the availability of health care services for veterans, especially those who reside in remote areas where there is no conveniently located VA hospital,” commented Florida veterans lawyer David W. Magann. “While virtual care is undoubtedly a powerful tool, an important aspect of the VA’s telehealth initiative is making sure veterans are aware of the options that are available to them. It is hard to use these offerings if you don’t know about them.”

Philips Healthcare agreed to use its telehealth technology to offer remote care at 10 American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars sites in rural locations throughout the United States. VA officials announced the new initiatives at the Anywhere to Anywhere Together summit in Washington, D.C. The telehealth conference united top veterans officials, medical professionals and technology experts to discuss how to establish a national remote care network in coming years.

Fiscal 2018 saw more than 725,000 veterans make use of various telehealth appointments at home or in VA facilities. Forty-five percent of those patients resided in rural areas where a visit to the nearest VA hospital would mean more than a 100-mile roundtrip.

“Ninety percent of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart. Ninety percent of veterans don’t live within 10 miles of a VA medical center,” VA official Deborah Scher pointed out. Scher is adviser to the Secretary’s Center for Strategic Partnerships. The new programs will allow veterans more convenient access to health care services, she added.

Wounded Vets Get More Physical Therapy Options

Legal Help for Veterans is a law firm helping veterans get the benefits they deserve.

Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) February 12, 2019 – U.S. military veterans recuperating from wartime wounds and injuries obtained through military service will have more options for receiving physical therapy thanks to an agreement between the VA and the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). The agreement gives veterans greater access to physical therapy treatment for pain and ailments, while creating more jobs for those employed in physical therapy.

The rigors of military duty and combat in particular leave many veterans in need of ongoing treatments after leaving the military service. A new partnership between the VA and the APTA helps to give veterans greater access to effective treatments for pain and other ailments caused by their military service.

“It always is refreshing to see the VA taking new, innovative approaches to helping the nation’s wounded and injured military veterans better deal with often lifelong consequences of their service,” said experienced veterans benefits attorney James G. Fausone, who also is a military veteran. “Too many veterans are given less-than-effective treatments for pain and other ongoing ailments. This partnership offers real hope for those looking to get away from traditional pain medication and other treatments that often come with debilitating side effects.”

The VA recently announced the partnership, which includes developing new ways to more effectively treat veterans who have ongoing physical ailments and pain from their service to the nation. The agreement promotes the use of non-medicinal treatment for pain, while also supporting the VA’s efforts to prevent suicide among veterans. The partnership also enhances the VA’s Adaptive Sports Grants Program.

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie lauded the partnership as coordinating the strengths of two outstanding organizations, while enabling the development of new best practices for treating veterans via federal programs, like those supported by the VA, and through private entities.

Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC
41700 West Six Mile Road, Suite 101
Northville, MI 48168
Toll Free Phone: 800.693.4800

  • VA will pay Army vet $40,000 in back benefits
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