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New VA benefits forms prompt anger, legal challenge (Military Times)

Veterans Affairs officials insist recent changes to how individuals can file benefits claims are nothing more than an efficiency move to clean up their files.But groups like the American Legion and AMVETS are accusing the department of abandoning their promise to help veterans get the benefits they deserve, and have filed a lawsuit to reverse the changes. [more]

Released 3/31/15 | Tags: Veteran's Benefits

American Legion says VA must ‘hold true to its mission’ (American Legion)

American Legion says VA must ‘hold true to its mission’ The American Legion’s national commander, Michael D. Helm, admonished the Department of Veterans Affairs for eliminating its informal claims process, which has been used in roughly half of all such claims filed by veterans. “VA needs to hold true to its mission, which is to serve America’s veterans and not penalize them,” Helm said. “Why on earth would (VA) Secretary McDonald approve a regulation change that invalidates about half of all disability claims being filed?” The new rule went into effect March 25. [more]

Released 3/30/15 | Tags:

Veteran Groups Sue VA for Ending Informal Disability Claims Process (Military.com)

Five national veteran's organizations have filed suit against the Veterans Affairs Department over its move ending informal claims applications and requiring veterans to fill out standardized forms. The plaintiffs are The American Legion, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, the National Veterans Legal Services Program, AMVETS, and the Vietnam Veterans of America. [more]

Released 3/27/15 | Tags: Veteran's Benefits

Senate and House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Hearing (Insurance News Net)

In January of 2015 the National Veterans Legal Services Program testified before your House Subcommittee on Disability, Assistance and Memorial Affairs for the HVAC and presented several proposals that TREA thinks would help the situation. They included:" - Authorize BVA to Develop Evidence Itself Without Having to Remand to the AMC or Regional Office - Provide Veterans Organizations with a Right to Petition the VA General Counsel for a Binding Precedent Opinion on the Proper Interpretation of a Statute or Regulation - Authorize the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims to (a) Certify a Case as a Class Action on behalf of Similarly Situated VA Claimants, (b) - - -- Require the VA to Stay Proceedings on the Claims of All Similarly Situated Claimants, and (c) Once the Court Finally Decides the Case, Require VA to Apply the Decision to all of the Pending Claims That Were Stayed - Prohibit The ROs And BVA, In A Case In Which There Is Positive Evidence Supporting the Award Of Benefits, From Developing Negative -Evidence Against The Claim Unless The RO or BVA First Explains In Writing Why The Existing Record Is Not Sufficient To Award Benefits - Require VBA To Change Its Work Credit System for RO Adjudicators So That Raters Do Not Get Work Credit For Denying A Claim Without First Obtaining The Evidence Needed To Comply With The VA Duty To Assist" [more]

Released 3/19/15 | Tags: Testimony, Veteran's Benefits

Witness Testimony of Barton F. Stichman, Esquire, Joint Executive Director, NVLSP

The backlog of claims appeals has been continually growing at the VA. The time it takes from the filing of the initial appeal document – the Notice of Disagreement (NOD) -- to the issuance of an initial Board of Veterans’ Appeal (BVA) decision is exceedingly long -- 1,255 days in FY 2013 (that is, more than 3 years and 5 months) according to the BVA Chairman. [more]

Released 1/22/15 | Tags: Testimony

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