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The new VA guidelines say that we do not have to apply again for the heart to be eligible. The records were obtained by the VA from Markey Cancer in 2004 about his heart.

Sir, do you think I have a chance and what can I do? It is great what you do and I thank you.

Sandra C.
Via the Internet

Dear Sandra:

Those in the know at VA tell me that this issue began with a Notice of Disagreement (N.O.D.) received on May 16, 2011. The Regional Office (R.O.) issued the required Veterans Claims Assistance Act (VCAA) Notice on July 8, 2011. Upon expiration of the diary, the R.O. requested a medical opinion from the VA Medical Center, Lexington on Oct. 28, 2011, which was received Nov. 10, 2011. The R.O. then issued a Statement of the Case on Dec. 5, 2011.

The appeal was finalized via receipt of the VA Form 9 on Dec. 13, 2011, with evidence, which required a new medical opinion. The R.O. requested a new medical opinion on March 14, 2012, which was received on March 22, 2012.

By rating decision dated July 24, 2012, the R.O. granted service connection for the cause of death effective Aug. 31, 2010. Additionally, basic eligibility to Dependents Educational Assistance (D.E.A.) was established that same effective date. This was a full grant of the benefits sought on appeal.

The effective date was determined based on the addition, on Aug. 31, 2010, of coronary artery disease (C.A.D.) to the list of disabilities recognized as being related to Agent Orange exposure and the objective medical evidence shows it contributed to the veteran’s death.

Therefore, service connection for the cause of death is granted, effective Aug. 31, 2010, the date of change in law. The claim was received within one year following the date of change in law, and there was evidence of continuous entitlement since that date.

This grant was based on the C.A.D. being a contributory cause of death since the original claim for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (D.I.C.) was based on a condition not presumptive under Agent Orange protocols.

I understand that the VA contacted you on July 24, 2012, and informed you of the decision and that you would receive formal notification shortly.

Shaft notes

The House of Representatives unanimously passed the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 (H.R. 1627).

The bill, now headed to the president for signature into law, will bring immediate VA health care to Camp Lejeune veterans and their families who have been diagnosed with a disease related to the water contamination that occurred at the base between 1957 and 1987.

In addition, H.R. 1627 increases VA accountability to veterans by streamlining the disability claims process, ensuring transparency in VA funding, protecting veterans from sexual assault and transforming how VA does business in the 21st century.

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