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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) now 100% Service Connected for Certain Veterans

VA published a final rulemaking in the Federal Registry on December 20, 2011 to revise the evaluation criterion for ALS in the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities. This new ruling affords any veteran with ALS who served 90 days active duty (with typically an other than dishonorable discharge) to be rated 100% service connected from the onset of his service connected award. This eliminates the need for the veteran to continue to be re-evaluated, given the severity and progressive nature of the disease.

This amendment became effective on January 19, 2012 and applies for benefits that:

  • are received by the VA on or after January 19, 2012, and those that
  • were received by the VA before January 19, 2012, but which had not been decided by the VA as of that date, and those that
  • are appealed to the Board of Veterans Appeals on or after January 19, 2012, and those that
  • were appealed to the Board of Veterans Appeals before January 19, 2012, but which have not been decided by the BVA as of that date; or
  • are pending before the VA on or after January 19, 2012, because the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims vacated a Board decision on the application and remanded it for readjudication 

Any veteran with ALS who served 90 days active duty (regardless of war time) with an other than dishonorable discharge should consider filing a claim for these benefits. Once rated 100%, the veteran with dependents can apply for CHAMPVA health care and educational benefits for his/her spouse and dependent children.

Any surviving spouse of a veteran who died of ALS should consider applying for Dependency Indemnity Compensation benefits. As long as the spouse is currently single, she/he may be able to go back on a prior deceased spouse and make such a claim. Once awarded benefits, the surviving spouse can then file for CHAMPVA health benefits and possible burial benefits related to the veteran's death.

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