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NVLSP’s FAQs For Vets on Improperly Denied Medical Retirement Due to Properly Referred Policy

Released 9/6/23 | Tags: Class Actions, Veteran's Benefits

NVLSP Issues FAQs for Navy and Marine Corps Veterans Who Were Improperly Denied Medical Retirement as a Result of the “Properly Referred” Policy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE- September 06, 2023

ARLINGTON-- The United States District Court for the District of Columbia has ordered the Navy and Marine Corps to provide new medical retirement hearings to approximately 3,700 veterans in the class action Torres v. Del Toro. The National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) was counsel in the litigation and has prepared answers to a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) to provide guidance to Navy and Marine Corps veterans who may now be eligible for a medical retirement.

The Torres v. Del Toro court granted judgment in favor of a class of U.S. Navy and Marine Corps veterans—medically discharged between September 12, 2016 and June 11, 2018—who were denied military disability retirement as a result of the Navy’s use of the “Properly Referred Policy.” The Court held that it was unlawful of the Navy to prevent the Physical Evaluation Board (PEB) from considering all of a service member’s disabilities. The court vacated the PEB decisions of all class members, instructing the Navy to remedy its error.

The Navy has since announced that it will offer new PEB hearings to all veterans impacted by the wrongful policy. The Navy is sending notices to veterans it identifies as impacted by the case; however, it is spreading its mailing of the notices over the next several months. In order to receive a new PEB, eligible veterans must affirmatively request a new hearing and submit evidence that demonstrates an additional disability is unfitting. 

A sample of the notice sent by the Navy to veterans can be found here.

A sample of the form to request a new PEB hearing can be found here.

The Navy has agreed to provide free legal counsel to all class members who are being reconsidered through the Disability Evaluation System Counsel Program (DESCP). The DESCP may be reached at (202) 875-1198 or DESCP_TorresUnit@us.navy.mil. Members of the Torres class may also go here to apply for free legal assistance through NVLSP’s Pro Bono Program, Lawyers Serving Warriors®.

About The National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP)
The National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) is an independent, nonprofit veterans service organization that has served active duty military personnel and veterans since 1981. NVLSP strives to ensure that our nation honors its commitment to its 22 million veterans and active duty personnel by ensuring they have the benefits they have earned through their service to our country. NVLSP has represented veterans in lawsuits that compelled enforcement of the law where the VA or other military services denied benefits to veterans in violation of the law. NVLSP’s success in these lawsuits has resulted in more than $5.4 billion dollars being awarded in disability, death and medical benefits to hundreds of thousands of veterans and their survivors. NVLSP offers training for attorneys and other advocates; connects veterans and active duty personnel with pro bono legal help when seeking disability benefits; publishes the nation's definitive guide on veteran benefits; and represents and litigates for veterans and their families before the VA, military discharge review agencies and federal courts. For more information go to www.nvlsp.org.

Media contact:
NVLSP: Patty Briotta, office 202-621-5698, patty@nvlsp.org

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