Traumatic brain injury benefits for veterans will expand in January
WACO, TX (KXXV) -
Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffering from traumatic brain injury got some good news on Monday.
New regulations from the Department of Veteran Affairs mean they could be getting benefit pay soon. TBI is becoming more and more of an issue in the VA. TBI is trauma to the brain and it's tied to a number of different diseases such as parkinson's, dementia, depression, blindness or seizures. Now, it can be caused by any explosion that impacts the brain.
The problem with TBI is that there was no clear identifier in the VA for the syndrome, and that meant it was hard for veterans to receive benefits for it.
"This concussive blast was occurring on a regular basis from IED's and I don't feel like anybody knew what the enemy was going to use and so when it started happening, it started causing a lot of unknown injuries," McLennan County Veteran Officer Steve Hernandez said.
Most disabilities are assigned a rating up to 100 percent to determine payments and treatment. The Defense Department estimates that a quarter of a million veterans have experienced TBI since 2000.
"The injury is caused from the shock wave of going into your body and having everything move from that concussion and then returning," said Hernandez. "So, there could be a lot more other injuries and there have been a lot of injuries from that."
This change in policy can help the claim process go faster. Especially those veterans who can prove their illness is caused from TBI.
The new policy will take effect starting January 16.