Some post 9/11 veterans with traumatic brain injuries who were denied disability compensation by VA between 2007 and 2015 have another chance to receive their benefits.
The Veterans Affairs Department announced Wednesday that more than 24,000 veterans could qualify to receive another medical exam for brain injury without having to refile a claim.
If they are found to have experienced a TBI, t Their compensation will be awarded back to the date of the initial claim if they are found to have experienced a TBI.
"Providing support for veterans suffering from a TBI is a priority and a privilege, and we must make certain they receive a just and fair rating for their disabilities." VA Secretary Bob Robert McDonald said in a release.
VA in 2007 began requiring veterans get medical assessments for TBI from one of four specialists — either a psychologist, psychiatrist, neurologist or neurosurgeon.
It denied claims of some veterans whose initial TBI exam was done by another medical provider.
Following a review of the VA TBI medical exams from 2007 to 2015, McDonald decided to grant what is called "equitable relief" to veterans.
VA officials said the department had issued a "number of guidance documents that may have created confusion regarding the policy" requiring the exams be done by certain doctors, resulting in a large number of former service members either being denied compensation or receiving a lower disability rating.
"We let these veterans down," McDonald said.
Veterans who qualify for a new exam will be contacted by the VA. The department said more than half the veterans already are receiving some level of compensation benefits.
Patricia Kime covers military and veterans health care and medicine for Military Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org