Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
You can't blame the military for your fat ass, according to a new VA ruling
Obesity cannot be considered a service-connected disability, according to a new ruling by the Department of Veterans Affairs General Counsel expected to be published in the April 8, 2019, edition of the Federal Register.
The new ruling, among several precedent opinions set to be included, reinforces the VA's long-standing opinion that obesity isn't a disease or injury according to the law for wartime or peacetime compensation and can't be considered directly related to military service for compensation purposes.
So why does the VA reject obesity as a service-connected disability if Medicare covers obesity treatment and the Centers for Disease Control and National Institutes of Health both say obesity is a disease?
While the VA treats obesity as a disease for which treatment is warranted, the distinction is in the words "service-connected." The VA simply does not see it as a condition that was a result of military service, and therefore for which compensation is payable.
The VA estimates that 78% of veterans are obese, and it does offer several treatment programs for obese vets. However, the new opinion means it won't pay compensation for it anytime soon.
But the determination could be a good thing, at least for the current force. We all have heard of people getting kicked out of the military for being overweight. This ruling by the VA means that obesity can't be considered willful misconduct when making line-of-duty determinations for other disabilities.
And blocking it as a service-connected disability doesn't mean that it isn't what's known as an "extra-schedular rating," or a rating that can be tagged onto an existing disability, the General Counsel has ruled.
For example, you may be rated 40% because of Agent Orange related diabetes but the diabetes may cause obesity so you may be able to get an extra-schedular rating and increase your disability to 50%.
Also, obesity may be so bad that it has life-altering consequences. That may be considered when determining an overall rating if there are other qualifying disabilities. It may be considered an "intermediate step" between a non-service-connected and service-connected disability when considered with other disabilities.
In their ruling, the lawyers said that since obesity "occurs over time and is based on various external and internal factors, as opposed to being a discrete incident or occurrence, or a series of discrete incidents or occurrences," the condition may be reversed by treatment before it becomes disabling.
So while obesity can, and should, be considered a disease since it is a treatable condition that results in other, more serious health conditions, it shouldn't be considered a disease when you are trying to blame it on your military service.
This article originally appeared on Military.com
More articles from Military.com:
- Retirees, Civilians, Want to Live in Base Housing? Yes, You Can!
- We Explain Tricare's Explanation of Benefits
- Soldier who Shot Himself in Head Appeals Army's Decision to Deny Benefits
WATCH NEXT: Jack Mandaville Thinks You're Too Fat
KABUL/WASHINGTON/PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - The United States and the Taliban will sign an agreement on Feb. 29 at the end of a week long period of violence reduction in Afghanistan, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Taliban said on Friday.
In the wee hours of Jan. 8, Tehran retaliated over the U.S. killing of Iran's most powerful general by bombarding the al-Asad air base in Iraq.
Among the 2,000 troops stationed there was U.S. Army Specialist Kimo Keltz, who recalls hearing a missile whistling through the sky as he lay on the deck of a guard tower. The explosion lifted his body - in full armor - an inch or two off the floor.
Keltz says he thought he had escaped with little more than a mild headache. Initial assessments around the base found no serious injuries or deaths from the attack. U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted, "All is well!"
The next day was different.
"My head kinda felt like I got hit with a truck," Keltz told Reuters in an interview from al-Asad air base in Iraq's western Anbar desert. "My stomach was grinding."
A video has emerged showing a U.S. military vehicle running a Russian armored truck off the road in Syria after it tried to pass an American convoy.
Questions still remain about the incident, to include when it occurred, though it appears to have taken place on a stretch of road near the Turkish border town of Qamishli, according to The War Zone.
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
We are women veterans who have served in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. Our service – as aviators, ship drivers, intelligence analysts, engineers, professors, and diplomats — spans decades. We have served in times of peace and war, separated from our families and loved ones. We are proud of our accomplishments, particularly as many were earned while immersed in a military culture that often ignores and demeans women's contributions. We are veterans.
Yet we recognize that as we grew as leaders over time, we often failed to challenge or even question this culture. It took decades for us to recognize that our individual successes came despite this culture and the damage it caused us and the women who follow in our footsteps. The easier course has always been to tolerate insulting, discriminatory, and harmful behavior toward women veterans and service members and to cling to the idea that 'a few bad apples' do not reflect the attitudes of the whole.
Recent allegations that Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie allegedly sought to intentionally discredit a female veteran who reported a sexual assault at a VA medical center allow no such pretense.
Survival expert and former Special Air Service commando Edward "Bear" Grylls made meme history for drinking his own urine to survive his TV show, Man vs. Wild. But the United States Air Force did Bear one better recently, when an Alaska-based airman peed in an office coffee maker.
While the circumstances of the bladder-based brew remain a mystery, the incident was written up in a newsletter written by the legal office of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on February 13, a base spokesman confirmed to Task & Purpose.