Q. What kinds of benefits are available to a veteran with myositis?
A. Veterans’ benefits are not directly tied to the fact that they have myositis, but rather by their priority status after enrolling with the Veteran’s Administration. In addition to health care, benefits can include assistive devices like wheelchairs, scooters, Hoyer lifts, etc. In addition, services could include respite care for cargivers and temporary in-home care.
Q. Do I have to prove that my myositis is service-related?
A. You do not need a service-connected disability to receive health care from the VA. However, the cost of care is related to your status. See earlier discussion related to means testing.
Q. What recourse do I have if I am turned down for care?
A. If additional information is discovered that would enhance your status, you may reapply to the VA to provide the additional information. Using a Veteran’s Service Organization (VSO) is highly recommended.
Q. Can I get medications through the VA?
A. Yes. Copayment costs for most veterans for medications required on an outpatient basis to treat non-service connected conditions can be found here.
Q. Have there been any studies or has any evidence been discovered that links a myositis disease to a service-related activity?
A. To date, a “myositis trigger” related to military service has not been discovered. However, any veterans who are able to establish their exposure to Agent Orange would receive service-connected status for diseases on the Agent Orange presumptive diseases list. If you are a recent veteran of active duty, please consider enrolling in the “Myositis in the Military” study.
Q. How long do I have to wait for a claim to be handled?
A. It varies. Be patient, and use a VSO as your advocate — that is their job! The national average for processing claims is just under 300 days, but can vary widely from region to region. The VA is working to reduce processing time and is under pressure from Congress to do so.
Q. I have health insurance. Does that preclude me from access to VA health benefits?
A. No. Your insurance may be used to supplement your VA benefits by reducing or fully covering co-pays.
Q. What is a catastophically-disabled veteran?
A. Catastrophically disabled veterans, determined by VA clinical decision, are those who have a severely disabling injury, disorder or disease that permanently compromises their ability to carry out the activities of daily living. The disability must be such that the veteran requires personal or mechanical assistance to leave home or bed, or requires constant supervision to avoid physical harm to themselves or others.