the 2019 VA disability rate increase

The 2019 VA Disability Rate Increase

Since the beginning of 2019, you may have noticed a nice bump in your monthly disability compensation from the Department of Veteran Affairs (also known as the VA). Obviously, it’s nice to see an increase in the rates and nobody is going to complain about more money.

The VA has a system in place to determine how much money you receive and this includes whether or not you get an increase in your disability benefits. What’s more, 2019 has been a blessing for many struggling veterans, especially if you are a disabled veteran.

Out of 12 million vets between the ages 21 and 64, almost a 3 rd have reported some type of disability.

Therefore, we’re going to go over how the VA decides compensation for ex-military service and how the process works, plus what this increase rate is for those that are already receiving disability compensation from the VA.

The 2019 Benefit Increase for VA Disability Compensation

When the Department of Veteran Affairs decides how much to increase the disability rates every year, they make this decision regarding the predicted Cost of Living Adjustment (also known as COLA) for that year.

Whether suffering from a physical disability while on active duty such as an amputation or a mental disability such as post-traumatic stress disorder, this helps vets maintain a comfortable life, despite inflation in the housing or food market.

Every year, COLA is figured out by the Social Security Administration (also known as SSA).

The Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates the Consumer Price Index for Wage Earnings and Clerical Workers (also known as CPI-W). The SSA takes these stats to determine the COLA.

Using this type of disability chart, they figure this by using the CPI-W stats reported based on the 3 rd quarter of the previous year to the 3 rd quarter of the current year.

This index is used to measure the change of price of goods and services, particularly the increase in prices in energy and shelter. But it’s not limited to just these services.

The VA then takes this information to decide how much to up disability payments for vets like you.

It’s this process that helps keep disabled veterans off the streets and in a home with their family. You’re not always able to work, depending on the severity of your disability or if you have multiple disabilities.

As of late December 2018, vet disability compensation has been boosted by 2.8%. This may not seem like much, but it’s one of the largest increases for the past seven years.

In 2011, the compensation rate increase was a massive 3.6%, whereas 2018 only saw a 2% increase.

How much is your increase in your disability compensation? Keep in mind, this list below is based on those without dependents.

  • If you receive 10% in disability compensation you’ve gained $140.05.
  • If you receive 20% in disability compensation you’ve gained $276.84.
  • If you receive 30% in disability compensation you’ve gained $428.83.
  • If you receive 40% in disability compensation you’ve gained $617.73.
  • If you receive 50% in disability compensation you’ve gained $879.36.
  • If you receive 60% in disability compensation you’ve gained $1113.86.
  • If you receive 70% in disability compensation you’ve gained $1403.71.
  • If you receive 80% in disability compensation you’ve gained $1631.59.
  • If you receive 90% in disability compensation you’ve gained $1833.52.
  • If you receive 100% in disability compensation you’ve gained $3057.13.

To get a better idea, Military Benefits has a great set of tables for those with spouses and children.

Different Types of Vet Disabilities

Of course, not every vet has the same disability. There’s a wide range of disabilities that vets acquire over the years. Some of these are due to service while others are from either aging or outside factors.

The VA divides disabilities into two categories:

  • VA Service-Connected Disability: As stated, these types of disabilities are from your service to the U.S. military. This can be either physical disabilities or mental disabilities from combat. This kind of disability is paid to you monthly. In cases of death, the compensation is paid to the vet’s immediate family.
  • Non-Service-Connected Benefits and Pensions: If you’re a vet that’s served in a war and combat, you’re able to receive a pension regardless if your disability wasn’t acquired during your service. You must be severely disabled and not able to bring income on your own at all.

Before 2004, it was illegal for vets to receive both military retirement pay and VA disability compensation. You would have to choose between the two. Thankfully, this law has changed.

Now, you may be able to receive both if these describe you:

  • Concurrent Retirement Disability Pay: Concurrent Retirement Disability Pay (also known as CRDP) is for retired vets who have a VA disability rating of at least 50%. This was passed in 2004.
  • Combat-Related Special Compensation: Combat-Related Special Compensation (also known as CRSC) is for retired vets who have a disability from service that has a VA disability rating of at least 10%. This was passed in 2008.

How the VA Calculates Your Compensation

When you file for disability through the VA, they decide on a percentage basis of how disabled you are and how it affects your ability to work.

They evaluate your ability to work and the severity of your disability by medical records you’ve provided with your disability claim as well as military records if your disability was acquired during service..

The VA’s rates range from 0% to 100% and in increments of 10%.

You can receive even more compensation from the VA if you have dependents relying on you (like children) or your spouse is also severely disabled.

If you have multiple disabilities, the VA uses a Combined Rating Table to determine how much disability compensation you’ll receive.

The Bottom Line

Every year, you should see at least a small increase in your disability compensation. This year was a big boost that every vet needed and fully deserves.

Federal False Claims Act

Federal False Claims Act

The complicated nature of the many laws, codes and regulations in the United States isn’t typically something your average citizen knows a great deal about. There is simply too much of this type of information to digest and often the language of this material is hard for some folks to grasp. Aside from these deterrents, people also find comfort knowing that if a legal issue arises, they can simply call a lawyer to help handle and explain what’s going on. Though this often works out just fine for most, there has been a noticeable growing trend of people who are becoming more and more conscious of what the governments laws are, and the motivations behind them.

This rise in political and legislative awareness can be attributed to a variety of factors, but one topic has perhaps stoked people’s interest more so than the others. That topic is government whistleblowers and the rights and allowances private citizens have when exposing fraud or other illegal activity meant to damage the federal government. Though many people connect whistleblowing to folks like Edward Snowden, who exposed the United States and other countries of illegally spying on its citizens; however, the term can also be used to describe people who help the government.

Though the current political climate in the United States is somewhat divided, there are still active and aware individuals who seek out the governments help when they notice something illegal going on. In these instances, the Federal False Claims Act is used in order to protect and reward the person who is helping the government stop whatever illegal activity is going on.

These types of situations can happen to anyone and that is why having a concrete understanding of the Federal False Claims act is important for people to know. Thankfully, this article will give you a rundown of what this act entails and how it is used not only to help the government catch criminals, but also to protect individuals from retaliation sought by those they expose.

In order to get the clearest picture of what the Federal False Claims Act is, it’s best to first know about its history. The Act was passed into law by Congress on March 2nd 1863 in response to the government becoming aware of various successful acts of fraud used to procure money from them. Basically, a whistleblower told the government that some of the companies supplying the Union army were committing fraud by selling the government moth ridden blankets and boxes of saw dust instead of guns. There were certainly many more instances of dishonest activity, which the government soon realized, and, in response, Abraham Lincoln enacted the Federal False Claims Act. This gave provisions to allow private citizens to sue those defrauding the government on its behalf. In order to persuade people to do this, the government would give the whistleblower 50% of the money recovered from the case and punish those responsible.

As time went on the United States government began to change the Federal False Claims Act by first lowering the reward amount and adding stipulations that prevented people from getting their rewards if the evidence leading to the exposure of whatever illegal activity was going on was already in the government’s possession.

These changes, made is 1943, began to dissuade people from cooperating until the act was again amended in the late 1980s when the government again became aware of widespread fraud used to swindle money from them. In this particular instance, Cold War defense contractors were drastically overcharging the government for items, but no one on the inside was willing to provide the information needed to prove it because they were afraid they would lose their jobs. To counteract this fear Congress revised the Federal False Claims Act to prevent workplace retaliation and also added a number of other stipulations that encouraged more people to cooperate with the government including getting rid of the evidence clause mentioned above. There have since been a few other amendments which were mainly in response to the growing number of fraud instances seen in the healthcare industry and wall street.

Now you’re probably wondering if these changes were successful or not in the government’s attempt to persuade private citizens to help them and the answer is a resounding yes. The incentives and protections added to the Federal False Claims act were certainly not perfect. Since the 1980s, however, there have been billions of dollars recovered and in the year 2015 alone the amount was a massive $3.5 billion and that number has continued to hold steady each year.

The bulk of this money can be attributed to defense contracting companies, as well as banks, investing firms and health care. Not only have whistleblowers helped catch these fraudulent and greedy individuals, but they’ve also helped decrease the amount of criminal activity that some of these industries were accustomed to doing. Of course, that’s not to say that these actions have all gone by the wayside, but those looking to defraud the government certainly think twice about their actions because of the Federal False Claims Act.

In closing, it’s important to understand that the term whistle blower is not something to scoff at or connect to any positive or negative assumptions. It’s essential for morally conscious people to expose wrong doings for the benefit of everybody. If these actions were to go unchecked our society would cease to exist. Nothing is perfect in this world and whatever your views on the government and whistleblowers are, it is still comforting to know that the Federal False Claims Act will protect you when you expose any wrongdoings. Even though some people will claim and believe that whistleblowers are only providing information to the government in hopes of getting a large monetary reward from the case, the majority of these folks simply have a value system that urges them to take action.

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of the Federal False Claims Act and a somewhat clearer view of what whistleblowers are. There is certainly more information available and It’s important to learn about laws like these because you may find yourself needing to incorporate what you’ve learned here at some point in your life.

False Act Claims Penalties

False Act Claims Penalties

When discussing the United States judicial system and the various laws, civil penalties, liability, justice, codes, and regulations set forth by the federal government, you tend to get opposing viewpoints on a number of issues that these topics invoke. While some people wholeheartedly agree with certain rules and penalties for making a fraudulent claim, others may argue that these federal law rules don’t make sense or the punishments are too harsh. These discussions can snowball into much larger issues when more and more people get involved and can even boil over to the point of mass protests and civil unrest both in and out of court.

Though these situations are somewhat few and far between, they are nonetheless an important and viable way to get unfair laws and regulations changed. No government is perfect and it’s up to individuals to come together as citizens to voice displeasure in certain government actions. One such issue that has been gaining momentum and seeing an observable increase in the number of people taking notice is the False Claims Act.

While this topic may be unfamiliar to some, it’s definitely in your best interest to learn about and understand the various nuances associated with this act. I say this because there has been an uproar of displeasure with some of the changes made to the False Claims Act, more specifically the penalties levied against those who are in violation of it.

This article will help guide you through these important issues as it will explain a little about the history of penalties associated with the Federal False Claims Act, how it will affect those intent to defraud and, more importantly, what is happening currently that has people protesting both in support, and disapproval of the changes being made. Not only will this information help you form an educated opinion on the topic, but it could also help protect you, or someone you know from being unfairly punished with what many believe are overly excessive penalties.

The Federal False Claims Act was enacted by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 in response to claims of fraud and corruption by businesses supplying the Union army with weapons, and other such items during the Civil War. Needing help from its citizens, the United States government passed the act, which allowed people to sue those actively defrauding the government. The government would then share the monetary damages awarded with the person who initiated the investigation and punish those responsible.

The initial Federal False Claims Act penalty was that the guilty party had to pay double what the damages were found to be, as well as a $2000 fine for each false claim submitted against them. The money received was then split equally between the government and the person who filed the suit with each party receiving half of the money awarded.

In 1943, the United States government altered the Federal False Claims Act by reducing the amount of reward money given to whistleblowers. They also added a clause which allowed them to eliminate suits filed by people based on evidence that was already in the government’s possession even if they weren’t currently investigating the issue. These changes severely reduced the number of people willing to cooperate with the government as the incentives to do so were simply not worth the trouble.

Similar to the initial causes for enacting the Federal False Claims Act, in the late 1980s during the height of the Cold War, inaccuracies in defense contracting spending, along with multiple claims of billing fraud, led Congress to make another round of changes to the False Claims Act. Since the incentives to file a suit on the government’s behalf was not enough to persuade people with the information needed to prove the defense contracting fraud claims were true to come forward, the government was pretty much forced to make changes.

They did and amended the act giving 15% to 30% of the monetary damages to people whose cases were successful and also gave them protection from workplace retaliation. Another significant change that was enacted during this time was that monetary penalties for those guilty of defrauding the government are now to be held responsible for treble damages and payments for each claim in the amount of anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000. For those who are unaware of what treble damages refers to, it basically means that the government can triple the amount of damages being awarded to the plaintiffs if the case meets certain criteria. These include—but aren’t limited to—if the guilty party displayed willful intent in their violations and certain anti-trust and racketeering cases.

The addition of treble damages is a key reason why some people believe the government may be over-penalizing people and business who are subjected to them. To make matters worse a new round of changes in 2016 saw the False Claims Act penalties rise once again. These were not small changes as the payments for each claim was doubled from a $5,000 minimum payment to almost $11,000 and the max amount from $10,000 to $20,000.

The doubling of payments seems a bit much, but what is most concerning to people is that the treble damages clause gives the government the ability to significantly increase the amount of money it receives from those found guilty to the point of being overly excessive. In fact, there have been recent instances of judges ruling that the fines imposed on people guilty of defrauding the government were so astronomical that they were deemed unconstitutional. It’s rather alarming that the government would use the False Claims Act penalties to seek monetary amounts that are vastly disproportionate to the actual damages caused.

Of course, there are always going to be those in favor of harsh penalties for every person who breaks the law and also those who believe these excessive punishments are unjustifiable. There are certainly convincing arguments for both sides and currently, the debate has garnered the attention of many concerned citizens. Hopefully, this article provided you with enough information to become involved in the debate and further investigate the subject. It’s important to take an active stance on topics like this because it raises important questions regarding government abuse of power and much more.


Common Military Injuries and Prevention

With the call of service for your country comes a few injuries throughout your time in the military. You’re getting used to a fitness regime or routine but mistakes and accidents can, and often do, happen.

Some situations are unavoidable but some injuries and illness can be prevented if you know prevention education. Even learning to control stress can make an enormous difference.

Military injuries are extremely common, such as knee injuries musculoskeletal issues, particularly during training. In fact, they range from six to 12 injuries a month for every 100 male recruits. With the help of simple prevention tactics, some of these injuries could have been avoided.

Though the risk of injury will always be there, we’re going to go over common active-duty military injuries for soldier and vets. Plus, we’re going to offer some injury prevention techniques you can use to protect yourself from some of these difficult injuries.

Common Injuries for Soldiers

There are numerous types of injuries that can occur in soldiers and that can develop years later as vets—whether they’re in training or they’re in the middle of combat and war.

These injuries, both large and small, are the most common injuries sustained by those in the military.

Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains, the most common type of musculoskeletalinjury in the lower limbs, is also one of the most common types of injuries in active duty soldiers.

It’s been found that ankle sprains are even more common in female soldiers than male soldiers, though no one is quite sure why this is.

Furthermore, if you have a history of a sprained ankle or ankle injuries, you’re more likely to sprain that same ankle from rigorous physical training or even recreational sports.

An ankle sprain occurs when your foot turns in an unnatural motion. The ligaments in your ankle are used to hold your ankle bones in place and keep you stabilized. However, these ligaments can only take a certain range of motion.

So, when your ankle gets twisted, these ligaments can stretch or tear which causes a sprained ankle.

Hearing Loss and Tinnitus

Hearing loss and tinnitus is one of the most common ailments that both active soldiers and vets suffer from.

Hearing loss and tinnitus are usually caused by prolonged exposure to loud noises in both training and from combat. For soldiers, this can be caused by working in the engine room on a ship or even just constant exposure to firearms being used.

Sensorineural hearing loss is the most diagnosed hearing loss and its permanent hearing damage. Sensorineural hearing loss makes sounds and noises sound muffled or even muzzled.This type of hearing loss means there’s damage to the soldier’s inner ear or damage to the nerve pathways. This prevents sound from traveling to the brain which causes the muffled sound.

Tinnitus is a ringing or buzzing in the ears caused by damage and exposure to loud noises too. Tinnitus can become debilitating at times for soldiers and vets.


Osteoarthritis is a widespread issue that affects thousands of soldiers and vets to even civilians. Out of every four military veterans, one is suffering from arthritis. Arthritis is also one of the main causes of medical discharge from the army.

Soldiers and vets are at a higher risk for osteoarthritis due to heavy lifting in basic training and during their service. There are also several combat risks that can increase a vet’s chance of developing arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is when your joints, cartilage,and ligaments are wearing away. There’s also inflammation in the affected joints.

This joint damage can’t be reversed but with the help of a doctor, the progression of arthritis can be slowed down and the pain managed.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries are one of the worst injuries that can happen to any soldier or vet in the U.S. Most of these brain injuries are from active duty and the chaos of combat.A traumatic brain injury is caused by complications or disruption in the brain’s normal functioning. This happens when your brain collides with your skull (when you bang your head severely or your brain tissue is penetrated by something.

Some TBIs are only temporary while the effects of others can last a lifetime. It will always vary from person to person.

For those serving in the military, most traumatic brain injuries are caused by either explosions or a heavy blow to the head. Over 313,816 soldiers and vets have been diagnosed with some type of TBIin either training or in war.

The symptoms of TBI differ for every individual as well as the severity of a brain injury. Some of the common symptoms include confusion, fatigue, headaches, irritability, impulsion, memory loss, trouble concentratingand sometimes even seizures.Initially, the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury are mistaken for behavioral issues, which leads to a delay in a proper diagnosis.

Tips to Prevent Injuries While Serving in the Military

Some injuries and ailments can’t be avoided no matter how hard you try. Fortunately, there are preventive steps you can take to protect yourself from injury while training or during active duty.

  • Warm up: Warming up before serious training or exercise helps get your muscles moving and ready for intense workouts. Stretching beforehand ensures your muscles are loosened and ready for more.
  • Cross Train: You need to switch up your exercise regime constantly. When you’re doing the same exercises every day, you’re going to wear out and tire the muscles being used everyday. This increases your risk of overuse injuries.
  • Rest, Rest, Rest: Rest is your best friend when it comes to training. Recovery days are a must. When you exercise, your muscles suffer from microscopic tears to start the rebuild of your muscles. But these tears in your muscle tissue need time to heal. Otherwise, not resting can also increase overuse injuries. Making sure you get the right amount of rest can also help if you’ve received a TBI.
  • Protect Yourself: You should always use any protection available to you. This can mean always wearing a helmet even if you’re just playing sports for fun, wearing earplugs whenever you’re around loud sounds for extended periods of time or even just wearing a seatbelt on any trip.


Soldiers and veterans in the US army are at higher risk for injuries, whether they’re short-term injuries or lengthy chronic injuries.

The best way to combat these injury stats is prevention education and being able to detect an injury that hasn’t been diagnosed.


What Makes Qui Tam Lawsuits So Important?

Whistle blowers are a new type of American hero. Qui tam lawsuits were created to ensure whistle blower protection (also called relators in court) so they can come forward about others who defraud the government.

When a whistleblower comes forward with information and knowledge that someone is defrauding the government, they are protected from retaliation.

If a company retaliates against a whistleblower lawsuit, the whistleblower can take the company or person to court for further compensation.

Qui tam is a shortened version of the Latin phrase, qui tampro domino regequam pro se ipso in hacparte sequitur, which roughly translates as “he who brings an action for the king as well as for himself.” These people are important in helping the U.S. Treasury retrieve money they were defrauded from.

Today is a great day to discuss the intricacies of qui tam lawsuits, from who can file a qui tam lawsuit to the steps it takes to get the lawsuit to court against a fraudulent claim, such as government fraud.

What Is the False Claims Act?

Qui tam is a provision under the False Claims Act which is also called Lincoln’s Law by some. So, what exactly does the False Claims Act do and why was it enacted in the first place?

The False Claims Act was created during the Civil War by Abraham Lincoln so suppliers couldn’t commit fraud against the Union Army after being defrauded constantly. It was enacted on March 2, 1863.

In 1943, the act was revised to lessen the monetary reward that whistleblowers were awarded when the government received the stolen money back. This deterred people from coming forward.

Then, in 1986, it was revised again and more amendments were added. This time whistleblowers who brought forth a winning case against someone defrauding the government were awarded 15–30% of the money the government got back.

What Are the Most Common Ways People Defraud the Government?

There are several types of actions that can be considered fraud under the False Claims Act. Sneaky and dishonest companies and people have found every way possible to con the government throughfraudulent activity and other violations in order to line their pockets with unearned money and should face hefty civil penalties.

A few types of fraud include:

  • Defense Contractor Fraud: Defense contractor fraud is fraud committed by a defense contractor that was hired by the government. The government hires defense contractors all the time for various services. They can commit fraud by overcharging for goods or services, charging the government for services that weren’t provided, not following the conditions of the contract between the two, and claiming they’re purchasing American goods and parts when they aren’t.
  • Finance Fraud: The financial industry can also commit fraud to the government. Some of these instances of fraud include providing false information to the government to receive financial assistance, providing false information to receive loans or mortgages on the property, and receiving funds to help FEMA and not using them for their intended purposes.
  • Grant Fraud: Grant fraud is when someone commits fraud to receive grants from the government. Grants are given for a variety of projects such as education, healthcare, and medical or clinical research. When someone receives a grant for their research or project but spends the money on other things, it’s considered grant fraud.
  • Healthcare Fraud: Just like with defense contractors, the government pays for medical services, equipment, and medication all the time. Some healthcare fraud includes hospitals that bill the government for services they didn’t provide, hospitals giving unneeded procedures to patients and billing the government for it, medical companies knowingly billing for defective equipment, and even not giving discounts to medical clients that were given to them by the government.

Who Files Qui Tam Lawsuits?

A whistleblower has personal knowledge of a company or someone that’s defrauding the government. So, the whistleblower heads to court with their lawyers as the plaintiffs in the case. The person committing the fraud is considered the defendant.

Anyone who has knowledge or evidence of someone defrauding the government can file a case as a stand-in for the government.

In most cases, whistleblowers who intervene through investigation are:

  • Employees
  • Ex-employees
  • Contractors and sub-contractors
  • Competitors

If you’re thinking of filing a lawsuit under the qui tam provision, you need to have everything in order. This means you need to have evidence and documents of the scam. You also need to file the lawsuit before the statute of limitations for qui tam is up.

What Are the Steps of Filing a Qui Tam Lawsuit?

Winning a qui tam lawsuit is not for the weak. It’s a complex process and can take some time for an investigation to end. It can take even longer once the lawsuit goes to court.

The steps of a qui tam lawsuit include:

  1. First, you need to hire an attorney with the right expertise to help you.
  2. Them you have to file the appropriate paperwork to start the lawsuit in a federal court. A lawyer can help you with this difficult process.
  3. The lawsuit that’s been filed is kept under seal and only a U.S. Attorney General will have access. They’ll also have a written statement that provides them all the information and evidence needed in the case. The details of a lawsuit are kept sealed for at least 60 days. You’re also not allowed to discuss this lawsuit with anyone other than your lawyer, otherwise, your case can be dismissed.
  4. Next, the government has to investigate the claims that you’ve brought forth to federal court. This includes interviewing you to find out what you know of the fraud in question.
  5. When the investigation ends, they’ll decide if they’ll prosecute your whistleblower case. You’ll be notified of the decision first.

If they decide to prosecute, the defendant will receive notification of the lawsuit and then it will become public. The government then takes over the case but you will be compensated if the case is proven to be true by court standards.

If it’s decided that the government won’t pick up the case, the whistleblower can proceed without the government’s help.


Defrauding the government hurts all taxpayers, meaning all Americans. That’s why whistleblowers are important to a functioning society.

1 2 3 4 5