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More than 133,000 vets may qualify for this tax refund windfall

More than 133,000 veterans may qualify for a refund of federal taxes they paid on disability severance pay dating back to 1991 ― taxes that shouldn’t have been collected in the first place. These refunds, which are the result of a law passed in 2016, apply to veterans who received this pay dating back to Jan. 17, 1991, with taxes withheld, and who also qualified for disability from the Veterans Affairs Department. President Obama signed into law legislation supported by the National Veterans Legal Services Program, to ensure that veterans who suffer service-ending combat-related injuries are not taxed on the severance payment they receive from the Department of Defense. [more]

Released 2/1/18 | Tags: Congressional Legislation

Co-author Bart Stichman discusses harmful debt collection legislation

This week, the House Financial Services Committee will vote on whether to open the floodgates to abusive litigation conduct by debt collection attorneys and debt buyers who work in their name. The Practice of Law Technical Clarification Act would unwind a bedrock protection for the 77 million Americans with debts in collection, including struggling families, elders, servicemembers and veterans. Debt collection is a multibillion dollar industry that consistently generates the most consumer complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Servicemembers and veterans are especially impacted by abusive debt collection activities, which were the subject of 42 percent of all complaints to the CFPB from military consumers. Why would Congress want to limit consumer protections against an industry that is clearly among the most abusive of consumers? [more]

Released 1/30/18 | Tags: Congressional Legislation

Federal government improperly restricting public access to court records via excessive fees

On September 5th, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and a coalition of 17 media organizations submitted a friend-of-the-court brief to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in the case of National Veterans Legal Services Program v. United States of America. The brief argues that the law requires the judicial system to limit the fees it charges people to access its Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system to the cost of disseminating the information requested. Currently, many members of the media face prohibitive costs when trying to obtain court records to inform the public about what is happening in the judicial system. [more]

Released 9/18/17 | Tags: Class Actions

Federal suit claims government overcharges for court records

Members of the public using the federal court database to access court records may be part of a class action lawsuit, which alleges the U.S. government overcharges for federal court records. Filed April 21, 2016, the suit alleges the cost of producing court records electronically has increased twice since 2002, when Congress passed the E-Government Act of 2002, which sought to cap rising court record costs. NVLSP is one of the plaintiffs. [more]

Released 6/26/17 | Tags: Class Actions

Military Shorts Veterans on CRSC Benefits, Class Action Claims

A retired Marine says the military has been short-changing veterans on retroactive Combat-Related Special Compensation benefits. Plaintiff Simon Soto, who served two tours in Iraq in the Marine Corps, claims branches of the U.S. military have been misapplying a limitations statute to improperly limit veterans’ entitlement to CRSC benefits.The National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) filed this class action lawsuit on behalf of Soto. The NVLSP is a non-profit organization dedicated to making sure both veterans and those actively serving in the military get the “federal benefits they have earned through their service to our country.” [more]

Released 3/9/17 | Tags: Class Actions, Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC)

VA denied stay on emergency care claims

The U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims has rejected with stunning speed a motion from the Department of Veterans Affairs that it be allowed to stop taking steps toward reimbursing hundreds of thousands of veterans, for the non-VA emergency care costs they have paid, until higher courts rule on VA’s appeal. [more]

Released 2/23/17 | Tags: Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims

Groups trying to help veterans with PTSD get proper care

Many military veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, but if they are discharged with anything less than an honorable discharge they cannot get the mental-health treatment they need. The Department of Veterans Affairs said that 20 percent of veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq could have PTSD. [more]

Released 2/22/17 | Tags: Discharges

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