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Court rules that VA has been shortchanging veterans since 2009

Released 7/17/16 at Pioneer Journal | Tags: Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, Veteran's Benefits

A unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims struck down a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) regulation that VA had been relying upon since 2009 to deny reimbursement requests from veterans who incurred emergency medical care costs outside the VA healthcare system. "This is a major win for veterans, and their families," said Bart Stichman, joint executive director of NVLSP and one of the attorneys in the case. "Often veterans have to seek emergency medical care outside the VA healthcare system, and for years the VA has refused to reimburse these veterans for any of the expenses incurred simply because secondary insurance covered a portion of the medical bill. This practice has violated federal law since at least 2009. The court's ruling means the VA will have to amend the unlawful regulations it should have amended in 2009 and do right by these veterans. It's not just a win for one veteran. Veterans who have pending claims for reimbursement will benefit. Plus, veterans whose reimbursement requests were turned down years ago may now be able to get paid by claiming that the previous denial contained "clear and unmistakable error."

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