The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) filed a join lawsuit on May 6 against the VA to force it to change its submission procedure for new claims. The procedure, says the VFW, was created solely to benefit the VA and not veterans.
The primary issue is that the VA eliminated the informal claims process, according to William Bradshaw, VFW’s director of National Veterans Service. Previously, any form of written communication would have served notice on the VA that within one year the veteran would be filing a claim for disability compensation.
In March, the procedure changed to require all veterans to use standardized forms, which complicates the process for veterans, many of whom don’t have access to computers to get the forms. Therefore, this delay essentially postpones the effective date and denies compensation to veterans.
“The VFW doesn’t oppose the use of standardized forms,” said Bradshaw. “Our opposition is to this all or nothing approach that VA is forcing on veterans — changes, that if left in place, will guarantee in this year alone that tens of thousands of service-connected wounded, ill and injured veterans will be denied benefits they were entitled to before the change became effective.”
This change in procedure has been in the VA pipeline since October 2013, at which time the VFW and DAV fought against the proposed change. Now, with it in effect, the two organizations have teamed up again, this time to file a joint lawsuit against the VA.
There appears to be no reason given as to why the VA couldn’t accept both informal claims and the standardized forms. The lawsuit alleges that the elimination of informal claims unduly harms veterans and reduces veterans benefits, which is unlawful as it goes against the “non-adversarial, pro-veteran principles upon which the veterans benefits system is built.”
You can read the full lawsuit complaint here:
At Legal Help For Veterans, PLLC, we focus exclusively on veterans’ rights. If you are a veteran looking to get the benefits that you deserve, call us today at 1-800-693-4800. We handle a variety of claims for service-connected injuries. www.LegalHelpForVeterans.com