Veterans Disability Claims: Attorneys to the RescueSaturday, June 9, 2007
As an Air Force veteran myself, I have always had a soft spot for my disabled veteran clients who have put their life on the line to protect our country and our freedoms. However, the United States Veterans’ Administration has done an awful job over the years by denying legitimate VA Disability claims and allowing the system to have a now 400,000 case backlog. This is is not the ‘thank you" our young men and women returning from Iraq deserve if they are missing limbs.
Thankfully, help is on the way for disabled veterans fighting the daunting Veterans’ Disability Claim process from us "controversial lawyers". A new law, originally sponsored by Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho), will finally allow disabled veterans to hire attorneys to fight their unfair claim denials or disability ratings. The new law, effective June 20, 2007, allows lawyers to enter the administrative disability determination process at the most critical stage – when evidence is being obtained to support the claim. If they aren’t running into a filing deadline, some disabled veterans are waiting until after this June 20th to file their appeals so they can do so with lawyers.
The system is so backward now that our law firm has been representing one New York disabled veteran in his claim for over seven years without a final resolution. This case illustrates the old adage "justice delayed is justice denied". Under the old law, the disabled vet was on his own (he could not by law hire a lawyer) during the initial claim processing and the first appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. The Veterans’ Administration only allowed attorneys to enter the process at the US Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims, where the evidentiary record had already been closed. This prevented the attorney from introducing any new evidence the veteran representing himself may have not known to submit.
Even the DAV (Disabled American Veterans), a formerly staunch opponent of the right to attorney representation due to its desire to "protect the turf " of its own Veterans’ Service Officers, seems to now support attorneys in the process based on a recent Newsday article on VA disability claims . The American Legion has always supported the right of the disabled American veteran to retain counsel or a law firm.
Turley, Redmond & Rosasco attorneys have been practicing before the US Court of Veterans’ Claims for over ten years. Whether injured recently in Iraq or still suffering PTSD from Vietnam, do not hesitate to call our partner, David Tobias, Esq., in our Veterans’ Disability Department toll free at 1- 877-NY-DBLAW.