. "Appendix A: Statement of the Veterans' Disability Benefits Commission to the Institute of Medicine's Committee on the Presumptive Disability Decision-Making Process, May 31, 2006." Improving the Presumptive Disability Decision-Making Process for Veterans. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2008.
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Improving the Presumptive Disability Decision-Making Process for Veterans
all legislative and committee reports. We also encourage you to review published research on and medical studies of disease exposure and the subsequent development of those diseases.
Requesting your Committee to study these issues underlining the research question should not be taken as directing any disposition or finding with respect to the research question. Rather the Commission is asking that particular attention be focused on the issue.
The Commission recognizes the challenges that the Committee on Presumptive Disability Decision Making Process faces in dealing with this issue. Your Committee has been asked to help ensure that future veterans are granted service connection under a presumption basis based on the best scientific evidence available. Your advice is crucial. The Commission anticipates that you will provide suggestions that will improve the processes that establish future presumptions. Presumptions are intended to protect a service member from being denied service connection for a disease or injury because he/she is unable to confirm the incurrence of the injury during combat or exposure to the disease through no fault of his or her own. To the extent possible, suggestions that will avoid the necessity for many future presumptions by ensuring that exposure of service members is documented and scientific evidence is made available would be important.
Having a method of granting service connection quickly and fairly based on a presumption is of critical importance to our disabled veterans and their surviving spouses. A through review of the present processes is needed. The presumptions must also be understandable to raters to allow for uniform and equitable application to veterans’ claims regardless of where the rating is prepared. Ensuring that future presumption processes reflect the then current medical knowledge about the causal relationship would benefit entire veteran community.
Your suggestions will be considered by the Commission in determining the appropriateness of benefits, the appropriateness of the level of such benefits, and the appropriate standard or standards for determining whether a disability or death of a veteran should be compensated.
The Commission will consider the Committee’s findings and suggestions in framing its response to the charge from Congress and the President.
We look forward to hearing the results of your Committee’s deliberations in the coming months.