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The Office of Veterans Advocacy is a full-service state agency that helps veterans, their family members and survivors. As an advocate we aggressively pursue all federal and state benefits and entitlements on their behalf.

Our staff are qualified benefits specialists trained to help veterans and families gain benefits they are entitled to. We provide counseling and referral services to individuals and families, to provide veterans with current, accurate information on the entire range of issues associated with veterans’ benefits and entitlements. This service is available Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Messages may be left 24 hours a day.

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Quarterly OVA Bulletin

National Work Queue: As mentioned many times throughout my past bulletin articles, this is the VA system that pulls all submitted claims from across the country up to the VA's Central Office in Washington, D.C. and then, on a daily basis, it is determined what the priority of work is for that day and then assigns claims to the Regional Office that can best take on the work for that day. The VA will first attempt to send the claims needing to be worked for that day back to the Regional Office in the state in which the veteran resides. The National Work Queue is now up and running at 13 VA Regional Offices across the country with the goal that every Regional Office is fully onboard with the system by May 1, 2016.

Data to Data Transfer of Claims (D2D): The VA has been working with multiple providers of Claim Management Software to allow Requests for Representation (VA Form 21-22), Intents to File (VA Form 21-0966), and Disability Compensation Claims (VA Form 21-526ez) to be electronically submitted into the VA's electronic Veteran Benefits Management System (VBMS). Our office began electronically submitting claims to the VA on behalf of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the USA in January of this year. Within minutes of submission, the claim and all supporting evidence are available in the VBMS system and able to be worked by VA personnel. This is a huge advancement over submitting a claim through the mail system and waiting for it to be scanned electronically by the VA's Janesville, WI scan site.

VA Airborne Hazard and Open Burn Pit Registry: The VA established this registry for veterans and servicemembers in June 2014 in order to track health issues that may be associated service in the Southwest Asia Theater of Operations. To date, only 2.6% of eligible veterans have logged on to the website and completed the 40-minute health survey. This registry is open to veterans and servicemembers who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation New Dawn, Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm; or served in Djibouti/Afghanistan after September 11, 2001, or anywhere in the Southwest Asia Theater of Operations on or after August 2, 1990. More information can be found at

VA Releases Results of Study Concerning Agent Orange and Presumptions of Service Connection for Inland Waterways and "Blue Water" Navy Veterans: The VA released its results concerning "Blue Water" Navy veterans during the Vietnam War and concluded that "Blue Water" Navy veterans would NOT be granted the same Agent Orange Presumptive Conditions as those who served "Boots on Ground" or on the inland waterways currently receive. They state the Institute of Medicine determined in its report in 2011 that there was insufficient evidence to conclude that Blue Water Navy veterans were exposed to herbicides. Furthermore, it states the medical and scientific evidence available at this time does not support extension of the presumption of exposure to herbicides to Blue Water Navy veterans. As mentioned in 38 Code of Federal Regulations 3.313, Blue Water Navy veterans can be presumptive service connected for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma though this presumption is not due to Agent Orange exposure or other herbicides.

VA Drill Pay Recoupment: Within the last several weeks, the VA has changed its policy on drill pay recoupment for traditional Guard/Reserve pay. Previously, the VA would determine how much money was owed back to the government due to drill pay and recoup it at one time, in some cases taking several months to recoup. Now, the amount owed back for drill pay will be reported to the VA's Debt Management Center in St. Paul, MN and the veteran will have the ability to work out a repayment arrangement to the VA.

VA Health Care Co-payments: In February 2016, the VA entered into an agreement with the Department of the Treasury to handle VA Medical Center co-pay debt management. If a Veteran owes co-pays to the VA Medical Center and has not made a repayment plan within 90 days of the established debt, the debt will be turned over to the Treasury Department for collections.

2016 County and Post Service Officer Training: For planning purposes, this year's County and Post Service Officer Training will take place at the Riverside Hotel in Boise August 3-5, 2016.

As part of our commitment to providing you world class healthcare and services, and to comply with Department of Treasury requirements to process payments by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), the Boise VA Medical Center will begin implementing Treasury requirements for EFT payment processing, including payments for beneficiary travel and compensated work therapy starting August 1, 2013.  This change will improve services, provide significant savings to your time by eliminating waiting in long lines, delays associated with check processing, and ensure a safe and efficient way to receive payments.

 To avoid the line and save yourself time here is what you will need to do:

  1. Read the Frequently Asked Questions.
  2. Complete the Direct Deposit Enrollment Form.  This form, once completed, will enable the VA to register your bank account information in the VA payment system so that your future claim submissions can be processed and sent to your bank account.  Fill out the form completely to avoid processing delays.
  3. When the form is completed you can:
  • Return the completed form to the Travel Office/CBOC now or at your next appointment.
  • Fax it to our secure fax line at (208) 422-1212; or
  • Mail it to ATTN: Fiscal EFT Coordinator 500 W. Fort St. (04) Boise, ID. 83702

Once your information has been received and direct deposit goes into effect, you will be able to simply fill out a voucher form at the Beneficiary Travel window, turn it in to the Travel Clerk or drop box, and payment will be electronically deposited into your bank account in less than 10 business days

For information concerning exposure to herbicides during Vietnam service is available on VA’s Public Health site at Navy Veterans can find information at  VA maintains a public database of ships known to have operated on the inland waterways for some period of time at  Changes to the M21-1 Adjudication Procedures can be found online at:

Veterans Affairs has recognized certain cancers and other health problems as associated with exposure to Agent Orange during military service or as associated with military service, for a specific group of Vietnam veterans.  Effective October 30, 2010 the following conditions were added to the presumptive list for agent orange exposure – Ischemic Heart Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and Chronic B Cell Leukemia.  If you have questions with regards to eligibility or would like to file a claim please contact one of our service officers.  For a complete list of the related conditions please visit the VA’s Public Health link -

From the 1950s through the 1980s, people living or working at the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, were potentially exposed to drinking water contaminated with industrial solvents, benzene, and other chemicals. You may be eligible for VA health benefits if you served on active duty (Veterans) or resided (family members) at Camp Lejeune for 30 days or more between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987: - See more at:

Veterans who were exposed to asbestos while in service and developed a disease related to asbestos exposure may receive service-connected compensation benefits. For more information visit

Additional resources regarding Asbestos exposure and asbestos related disease can be found at:

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