WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), Chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, was joined by Senators Rockfeller, Murray, Obama, Tester, Brown, and Sanders in submitting formal comments yesterday on regulations proposed by the Department of Veterans Affairs governing compensation for veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBI is a signature wound of the war in Iraq, affecting many veterans who have suffered IED blast injuries.
"The new rules must provide for a fair evaluation of the veteran's disabilities. Unfortunately, the proposed regulations do not," said Senator Akaka.
Under Chairman Akaka's leadership, the Veterans' Affairs Committee has placed an emphasis on issues related to TBI, conducting vigorous oversight and advancing critical legislation.
Under current regulations, compensation for symptoms attributable to TBI, such as headaches, dizziness, or insomnia is limited to "10 percent and no more." While VA recognizes that this requirement is outdated, it remains in effect pending the release of new rules. Chairman Akaka and majority members asked that this outdated rule be withdrawn immediately.
Akaka also objected to a section of the proposed rule which would not consider the severity or frequency of TBI symptoms, only count the number of symptoms. Akaka noted that a veteran with severe and chronic symptoms such as dizziness or headache may be unable to engage in work or many other activities, while a veteran with a variety of mild and infrequent symptoms may be much less impaired.
VA will now review these comments before coming to a final determination about the proposed regulations.
February 5, 2008