In the El Paso area, the widow of a veteran was denied Dependent Indemnity Compensation in 2010. With the help of Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) Claims Benefits Advisor and an Army Retired veteran Robert Macias, she was just awarded over $194,700 in retro payment in July, plus monthly compensation of over $1,790.
“All these years passed where she could have had Dependent Indemnity Compensation,” said Macias, pictured. “No one had bothered to do disagreements, research his service-connected disabilities associated with the veterans cause of death. I did research, what did medical literature tell me? The research showed me how his service-connected disability can cause cancer. It’s all about taking that extra time to do research, it’s putting that bug in the VA’s ear.”
The widow’s daughter made the initial contact with Macias on July 27, 2021. He began work by sending her “all the forms we are going to need to start the Claims process” including Power of Attorney. The daughter replied with the needed documents on December 7, 2021.
As soon as the VA granted Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS) access, Macias began his research. Though the VA initially denied the Dependent Indemnity Compensation, “I submitted the Higher-Level Review, stating his Service Connected of Hiatal Hernia / RefIux Esophagitis, is shown by medical literature to be associated with his Esophageal Cancer Metastatic Adenocarcinoma and his cause of death,” said Macias.
The VA sent a letter to the widow, stating, “A duty to assist error has been identified during the Higher-Level Review for service connection for cause of death.”
Macias explained “The VA did send this case for a C&P (Compensation & Pension exam), asking if his service-connected disability caused the cancer. The examiner came back with yes, his service-connected disability did cause the cancer. So, we’re thankful this examiner did research how the veteran’s service connection can cause this type of cancer.”
Get TVC Claims assistance at no cost; make an appointment with a TVC Claims Benefits Advisor at https://www.tvc.texas.gov/claims_appointments/ .