The Veterans Research Foundation is committed to providing a safe, healthy, and productive workplace for its clients/customers, and staff. While on the job, being under the influence of a drug or alcohol poses substantial safety and health dangers.
In the workplace, the possession of an illicit substance or alcohol, as well as the state of in the job, being under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol is unacceptably dangerous to safe, healthy, and productive working conditions.
Table Of Contents:
- What Is Intentional Misconduct?
- VA Disability Compensation and Willful Misconduct
- Can I lose my VA benefits if I use drugs?
- What Should Veterans Know About MMJ?
- Do the VA Drug Test Employees?
- do the VA Drug Test volunteers?
- What kind of drug testing does the VA employ?
What Is Intentional Misconduct?
The VA defines willful misconduct as purposefully and knowingly engaging in conduct that you know is unlawful or banned without regard for the consequences. A person who engages in intentional misbehavior is aware that their actions have hazards, but they continue to do so nevertheless. There is a callous disregard for the action's prospective outcome or consequences.
They must look after their service members and ensure that their contributions to the military are recognized. A disability claim is not the same as a workers' compensation claim filed with an employer. It isn't a claim for a pension. Denial of disability benefits might be justifiable if a person's purposeful misbehavior caused their disability. However, if the veteran did not deliberate misconduct, they are entitled to health care, disability, pension, and all other government benefits.
Willful Misconduct In The Context Of Disability Claim
Even if the veteran meets all other eligibility standards for disability benefits, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) refuses disability compensation in cases involving deliberate misbehavior. In addition, survivor payments for wives and dependents may be denied if a veteran dies due to misconduct.
There is, however, a presumption against willful wrongdoing if your impairment arises while you are on active duty. In other words, the VA must prove that your willful misconduct resulted in your service-related injury or death.
Unfortunately, "preponderance of the evidence" is the standard of proof. However, that isn't a high bar to meet. The VA merely needs to show a better than 50% likelihood the claims are valid based on the evidence.
A claimant has the right to take their case to court and argues that the defendant committed deliberate misconduct. He has the right to defend themselves against charges of carelessness, severe negligence, and contributory negligence.
The VA must show that a veteran's claim for disability benefits should be denied because of the veteran's reckless disregard for the consequences of their actions. Even if the veteran meets all other eligibility standards for disability benefits, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) refuses disability compensation in cases involving deliberate misbehavior. Survivor payments for wives and dependents may be denied if a veteran dies as a result of misconduct.
VA Disability Compensation and Willful Misconduct
In most circumstances, disabled veterans are eligible for disability compensation. However, certain situations may exclude a veteran from receiving disability compensation. One of the grounds that might lead to a denial of VA disability compensation is willful wrongdoing.
Willful misbehavior could affect your VA disability payments if you engage in the following behaviors:
- Use of Tobacco
- Consumption of Alcohol
- Addiction to drugs
Only specific sorts of deliberate wrongdoing result in VA disability benefits being denied. Willful misconduct might also preclude a veteran from receiving additional benefits, such as vocational rehabilitation. However, if the veteran has another service-related ailment that is not the result of their misconduct, they may still be eligible for disability and other benefits.
Addiction to drugs is akin to alcoholism. Therefore, for the VA to deny disability compensation, drug usage must be the direct and proximate cause of the disability.
According to the VA, drug abuse is defined as the use of narcotics for the pleasure of being inebriated. The medications are not being used for their original medical purpose. Instead, the drugs are either unlawful or illegally obtained prescription drugs.
The VA might award disability payments for an injury or disease if a service-connected disability caused the drug usage, much as it did with alcohol. For example, many soldiers take illegal drugs as a result of PTSD. The purpose of using drugs is not to enjoy the drunkenness they create. Instead, to cope with the symptoms of PTSD, people take drugs. Another example would be a veteran who receives prescription pain medicine to treat chronic pain and severe depression resulting from a service-related injury.
Can I lose my VA benefits if I use drugs?
The use of illegal drugs regularly may not be considered deliberate misbehavior. The VA recognizes that many veterans face mental health and disability concerns as a result of their service. When a veteran is involved in the criminal justice system, it is crucial to understand that the Department of Veterans Affairs can restrict VA disability benefits.
VA will stop providing health care and services, including prescriptions if a veteran or beneficiary is discovered as a fugitive felon. Any individual is escaping to avoid imprisonment or confinement after a criminal conviction, and any person violating a provision of probation or parole imposed for committing a felony are all considered fugitive felons.
While the VA may not be aware of a warrant right away, failing to notify the VA does not address the situation. The veteran then creates an overpayment that they will be responsible for repaying.
If you are a felon, you must contact the felony warrant's issuing agency, not the VA, to correct any misidentification or other errors, resolve the contract, or surrender. Your local VA regional office should receive proof that the warrant has been met.
However, a veteran's eligibility for medical care does not end once they are detained. A jailed veteran who is a prisoner in a facility run by another government entity responsible for providing the same treatment and services cannot receive VA health care or inpatient care. As a result, while detained, the veteran loses VA medical treatment until unconditional release.
You should not lose your disability benefits if your disability were not caused by your drug or alcohol usage. The VA provides counseling, treatment, and other services to veterans.
If you are charged of a felony, but the conviction is later reversed on appeal, the VA will pay you disability benefits retroactively. This will cover the money withheld by the VA after your first conviction. This does not, however, apply to pension payments. If a veteran's conviction is overturned on appeal, they must notify the VA.
What Should Veterans Know About MMJ?
Many states in the United States have legalised MMJ for medical and recreational use. However, MMJ is classified as a Schedule One Controlled Substance under federal law.
The Department of VA is required to observe all federal laws. As a result, VA health care practitioners are barred from assisting Veterans as long as MMJ is classified.
VA physicians can address MMJ use with Veterans as part of comprehensive care planning and adjust treatment plans as needed.The following are some MMJ facts that veterans should be aware of:
- Veterans are compelled to communicate with their VA providers about their MMJ use.
- It's possible that VA clinicians won't finish the paperwork and documentation required for Veterans to engage in state-approved MMJ programmes.
- VA healthcare clinicians will document MMJ use in the records.
- VA doctors may refuse to recommend medical MMJ.
- Medical MMJ prescriptions cannot be filled in VA pharmacies.
- With regulatory authority, VA scientists may investigate the benefits, risks, and potential for abuse.
- Medical MMJ prescriptions from any source will not be reimbursed by the VA.
- Veterans who work for the VA must submit to drug testing as part of their employment contract.
- All VA medical centers, locations, and grounds prohibit the use or possession of MMJ. When you're on VA grounds, federal law takes precedence over state laws.
Do the VA Drug Test Employees?
All employees must sign the Random Drug Testing Notification and Acknowledgement Memorandum if they have not already done so during the onboarding process. They will be put on the Random Drug Screen after 30 days.
Each Veterans Health Administration (VHA) hospital has a Drug Program Coordinator (DPC) responsible for scheduling drug testing for randomly selected staff once a month.
They must report if your name is chosen while on VA rotation. On the same day that they are told, go to the designated laboratory. If their name is chosen while they are not on VA rotation, they will be notified; he will be required to pass a drug test at the Veterans Administration. If you refuse or are unable to submit a sample, it will be considered a failure.
During an interview with a nurse, they will be given the option to produce a prescription from their doctor to explain prescribed medications. If they are discovered to be using illegal drugs or alcohol, they will be prosecuted. They will be prosecuted if they use authorized drugs without a legitimate prescription, ejected from service.
Do the VA Drug Test volunteers?
Employees will not be forced or coerced into participating in section 3(b) voluntary testing. Employees will not be disadvantaged or benefited in any way due to their participation or non-participation in voluntary testing. To the degree that it is permitted, random testing on volunteers must be carried out in conformity with applicable laws, rules, and regulations.
What kind of drug testing does the VA use?
Urinalysis is the most common test when you are tested. Each test kit has a price tag attached to it. Different sorts of test kits are available to identify various types of drugs. The low-cost testing supplies typically test for four substances at once. Other kits will check for six, eight, or even more.
A standardized four-drug detection kit is used for testing in civilian, VA, and military contexts. Urine test will reveal the presence of drugs (Vicodin, Oxycontin, morphine, etc.). MMJ, cocaine (or crack), and amphetamines are all illegal substances.
If the drug test is negative, the findings can take anywhere from one to three days to get back. If the results are favorable, it may take a little longer, usually 3-5 days from when the sample was received at the lab. Irrespective as to whether the results are positive or negative, they are presented to the program managers' web portal.
The testing procedures, which include collecting a urine sample, shall be carried out according to the Department of Health and Human Services' Drug Testing Programs Guidelines.
The test will be conducted using a split sample with an A and B cup. In compliance with Chain of Custody regulations, the sample is split at the moment of collection and transmitted with the primary specimen for storage. The samples are sent to an HHS-certified lab run by the VA. If the A cup is positive, the person being tested can have the B cup tested at any HHS-approved facility across the country. When testing the B cup, either GC mass spectrometry or LC liquid chromatography are utilized.
You may rest assured that the testing processes are of the highest quality. The test used to confirm the use of illegal drugs is extremely accurate. The test findings will be handled with the utmost regard for individual confidentiality while maintaining safety and security. The VA will commence random testing no sooner than 30 days after you sign the acknowledgment form.