Team 10: Some military veterans eligible for new brain exams

Designated specialists don't do TBI screenings
Posted at 7:01 PM, Jun 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-24 22:01:13-04

Nearly 1,400 military veterans within the jurisdiction of the San Diego VA Regional Office could be eligible for a new Traumatic Brain Injury examination.

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Robert McDonald, has granted equitable relief to more than 24,000 veterans following a national review of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) disability compensation examinations conducted between 2007 and 2015.

According to the VA, TBI examinations of veterans whose initial examination for TBI was not conducted by one of four designated medical specialists and provides them with the opportunity to have their claims reprocessed.

A release issued by the VA explained, VA designated particular specialists to conduct initial TBI exams because they have the most experience with the symptoms and effects of TBI. As more research became available, VA issued a number of guidance documents that may have created confusion regarding the policy. VA has confirmed that its TBI policy guidance is now clear and being followed.

In a statement, the Director of the San Diego VA Regional office tells Team 10:

“Equitable relief affords affected Veterans an opportunity to have their claim reconsidered. Where an exam was not conducted by the appropriate specialist, VA will be able to act on the results of the new examination without the submission of another claim. If additional benefits are due, VA will award an effective date as early as the date of the initial claim. This decision could potentially affect 1,394 Veterans within the jurisdiction of the San Diego VA Regional Office; this number reflects both our local casework and our national mission which includes claims filed prior to a Veteran’s military discharge.”

He says the San Diego office will reach out to all Veterans whose initial TBI diagnosis was not determined by one of those four specifically designated specialists to offer them the opportunity to receive a new examination.