Veteran’s Benefits

News brief on how we treat some of our veterans. Highlights are below from this WaPo story: Who Can Fight for the Soldiers?.

If American soldiers are mature and responsible enough to choose torisk their lives for their country, shouldn’t they be consideredcompetent to hire a lawyer? No, not if that lawyer is going to pursuetheir veterans’ benefits claims before the Department of VeteransAffairs. That’s the flabbergasting answer from Congress and theSupreme Court….

…But later the Board ofVeterans’ Appeals said that Myers didn’t use the precise words thatare required for what is known as a “notice of disagreement” (or NOD).Without that, the board rejected his appeal.

The exclusion of lawyers has also been a cause for the huge delaysthroughout the benefits system. It is common for a VA proceeding tolast more than a decade. Many claims are recycled over and over.Whereas ethical rules prohibit lawyers from filing frivolous claims,there are no such rules constraining service representatives. Manyveterans have died of old age before their claims were resolved. Theirclaims die with them, since widows and orphans by statute have noright to pursue the claims.