VA Partnering with the American Bar Association

A new initiative to reduce the mountainous backlog of disability claims has the VA partnering with the American Bar Association (ABA). Secretary Shinseki said, “[e]nding the backlog is an ‘all hands on deck’ effort that requires teamwork, both in and out of government.” The partnering program also includes the Legal Services Corporation (LSC).

The idea is that the ABA and LSC attorneys, who are working on a pro bono basis, will help gather evidence to fully develop the claims, thus reducing VA effort, and – therefore – the time in the bureaucracy.

ABA President Laurel Bellows said, “The ABA is proud to take the lead in connecting veterans with pro bono attorneys who will help them receive the aid our nation owes them for their selfless courage.” President Bellows went on to say, “we hope that our initial focus on Chicago and St. Petersburg can swiftly be expanded across the nation.” The VA claims the backlog for initial claims past the 125 day threshold has been reduced by 18%. The VA stated goal is to eliminate the claims backlog by 2015.

This is an ironic move from the VA, because in the past the VA has actively tried to exclude lawyers from the business within the VA. For example, the VA Attorney General recently promulgated an opinion which said, in effect, that an attorney cannot work on a veteran’s case with a certified VA representative who is a paralegal or legal assistant in the same firm. This makes absolutely no sense, because one would think that having a certified representative working on a case with an attorney would be a very fruitful. However, the VA is trying to increase difficulty in obtaining an attorney despite the rhetoric that the backlog is “an ‘all hands on deck,'” philosophy.

This is merely a talking point from the VA. If the VA truly wanted assistance in ending the veterans disability claims backlog, then it would not severely limit a veteran’s right to hire counsel both in the initial claim stage and appellate stage.

Do not expect this partnership to move cases forward any faster until major and significant reforms about representation at all levels of the claims process are answered. This means allowing veterans to exercise a right to association and counsel. This is nothing more than a kind of propaganda the VA is using to try to show effort at reducing the backlog without discussing the significant effort to reduce the VA appeals process. If the VA would allow lawyers to represent veterans as part of a lawyers normal course of business, then one could comfortably say that the VA is authentic in its desire to reduce the backlog. However, the VA is far from giving veterans freedom to hire an attorney for initial claims, so the announcement should be taken at face value, which is next to nothing.

If you need assistance with a VA benefits claim or appeal of a VA claim decision, we are here to help. Call Bosley & Bratch at (800) 953-6224 or complete our free veterans benefits case evaluation form.

What is Pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis and VA Disability What is Pancreatitis? Pancreatitis is inflammation in the pancreas....

More Articles

Permanent and Total VA Disability Ratings for PTSD

What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. Symptoms of PTSD usually begin within three months of the...

Depression And Your VA Claim

Depression can negatively affect every aspect of your life: how you feel, think, sleep, function, and interact with others. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health Issues, about 14% of veterans suffer from depression. Depression is one of the most common...

Four Tips On How To Get The Highest PTSD Rating

If you have been fortunate enough to have been granted service connection for PTSD, then you have probably been given a disappointingly low rating.  This is a very common situation so you are not alone. The VA regularly underrates PTSD claims.  In the...

Recent Appeals Decision Helps Veterans Prove In-Service Personal Assault

A recent decision from the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims may make it easier for veterans claiming disability due to PTSD to prove in-service personal assault. There are special rules in place where in-service assault is involved. The VA knows it can be hard for...

FREE CASE EVALUATION 

  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

More Great Reads

How to Qualify for Disability Benefits for Surgery

VA Disability Ratings for Surgery How to Qualify for Disability Benefits for Surgery Veterans may be able to get disability benefits if they have had surgery or received treatment at a VA hospital, approved hospital, or outpatient center for a disability related to...

Protecting Your Benefits – Avoid Being Scammed!

Have you had a suspicious call from a person or organization stating they were with or a representative of the Department of Veterans (VA) and offering a large payout for a small fee? If so, you could be getting scammed. Click here to read an article from the VA that...

VA Partnering with the American Bar Association
VA Partnering with the American Bar Association

Take our quiz to find out your money type

Stay in the know

Buy The Book

Join the thousands of women who have transformed their lives

Follow Us

Join the community of really smart women like yourself

Join Our Newsletter

Get the latest tips and tricks to own your future!

More Great Reads

How to Qualify for Disability Benefits for Surgery

VA Disability Ratings for Surgery How to Qualify for Disability Benefits for Surgery Veterans may be able to get disability benefits if they have had surgery or received treatment at a VA hospital, approved hospital, or outpatient center for a disability related to...

Protecting Your Benefits – Avoid Being Scammed!

Have you had a suspicious call from a person or organization stating they were with or a representative of the Department of Veterans (VA) and offering a large payout for a small fee? If so, you could be getting scammed. Click here to read an article from the VA that...