Posts Tagged ‘Agent Orange’

A Christmas Present from the VA

January 3, 2012

Disabled veterans got a Christmas present from the Veterans Administration in the form of a pay raise.  After receiving no increase the last two years, a 3.6% raise looks pretty good.  To put this in perspective, a 100% disabled veteran with a spouse and no dependent children or parents who was receiving $2,823 per month before the raise now receives $2,924 or $101 more.  It’s not a princely sum but it is better than we have been doing in recent years.  Because of the arcane way the VA assigns disability percentages, not everyone will get 3.4% more than they were getting.  In many cases, they will but others, with more complicated situations will get something a bit different.  Understanding the VA rate tables is essential to determining what one’s new compensation should be.  The VA rate tables can be found at: http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/Rates/comp01.htm

I think I may have figured out how the VA computes disability percentages for veterans with multiple disabilities.  It’s not simple.  If you have three disabilities– say a 60%, a 30% and a 10%–that total 10% under the normal rules of mathematics, you aren’t rated at 100% by the VA.  They determine disability percentages as being 100% minus an efficiency percentage.  If your first disability (in order of severity) is 60%, you are 40% efficient (100%-60%).  The second disability (30% in this case) leaves only 70% of the efficiency remaining after the first disability or 28% (40% times 70%).  The third disability (10%) leaves 90% of the efficiency remaining after the second disability was deducted or 25% (28% times 90%).  Subtracting the combined remaining efficiency from 100% yields 75% (100% minus 25%).  The VA rounds this percentage to the nearest 10% for a combined disability of 80%.  Eighty percent is a far cry from 100%, particularly the way the VA computes compensation.  An 8% disability does not get 80% of what a 100% disability gets.  For example, an 80% disabled vet with a spouse gets $1,602 per month, not $2,339 (80% of $2,924).  You can find the VA’s explanation of how they compute multiple disabilities at http://www.benefits.va.gov/warms/bookc.asp under section 4.25 Combined Ratings Table.

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Hampton University Forges New Field — Again

April 11, 2011

When most people think of Hampton University, they consider it to be a historically black educational institution, which it is, of course. However, It is more than that. In 1878, Lt. Richard Henry Pratt convinced 17 of the younger of his former prisoners at Fort Marion, Florida to enroll in an educational program he established at what was then called Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute. Pratt soon disagreed with Hampton’s policy of cloistering students from the community at large and proceeded to found Carlisle Indian Industrial School. Hampton did not stop educating Indians; it continued enrolling them for decades. Their records are a source of information for people researching Carlisle students as sometimes some family members attended Hampton while others attended Carlisle. Very few appear to have attended both schools. One person, and probably more, Angel deCora, the famous Winnebago artist, was first educated at Hampton and later taught at Carlisle.

Hampton University recently became the home of something else of interest to people living in the Mid-Atlantic Region. The Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute, the eighth such installation in the U. S. and the largest in the world, completed treatment of it first group of patients in November. These men were treated for Prostate Cancer but Proton Therapy is not limited to that application as it is also used to treat a variety of other types of cancer. Their web site states that Hampton Roads leads the country in Prostate Cancer deaths. That fact might be one of the reasons the $220M facility was located where it is. That the Department of Defense ponied up $7.9M toward its costs may be because so many military personnel are stationed in the Hampton Roads area or retire there. Large numbers of Viet Nam veterans are afflicted with Prostate and other cancers due to exposure to Agent Orange. Apparently, Agent Orange affected more than just the people who handled it in their daily work or those who trudged through the terrain that had been sprayed with the defoliant.

Proton Therapy appears to be the Prostate Cancer treatment modality with the fewest side effects of the available treatment options. Next time back to football, I think.