A Supreme Court case that veterans hoped would speed up claims processing at the Department of Veterans Affairs instead let them down when the Court decided not to even hear the case.
Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) October 28, 2010 – Two veterans groups, the Vietnam Veterans of America and the Veterans of Modern Warfare, claimed that the VA takes far to long to process claims made my members and veterans, saying that in some cases it takes more than a year for the organization to respond to initial claims and upwards of five years for appeals.
The groups wanted the Court to force the VA to respond to initial claims within 90 days and resolve appeals within 180 days.
Prior to the Supreme Court’s decision, the lower courts decided that lengthy average wait times were not enough proof of harm. “[O]ne can not have standing in federal court by asserting an injury to someone else,” wrote Judge Laurence Silberman in a unanimous opinion of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
“The lower federal courts ruled against the veteran groups on a variety of issues and the U.S. Supreme court refused to take up the case,” said James G. Fausone, a veterans lawyer and veterans disability attorney who works for Legal Help For Veterans, PLLC. “Apparently no one can make the VA beast move in a timely fashion.”
The Supreme Court essentially upheld the lower courts’ decision with their refusal to hear the case.
“We will see if Congress takes up this challenge now that the US Supreme Court has declined,” Fausone said.
This decision comes in contrast to a move made by the VA in August, when the organization decided to eliminate the online signature requirement in order to speed up health care benefits for veterans. Prior to this, veterans applying for health benefits had to electronically submit an online 10-10EZ “Application for Health Benefits” form, which often took a significant amount of time.
“This singular action will reduce days, if not weeks, for veterans who apply online to access their hard-earned medical benefits and upholds the promise to reduce access barriers to needed care for this Nation’s Veterans,” Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.
Legal Help For Veterans has said that they would like to see this trend continue.
“We can only hope that they continue to streamline the process so veterans can have quick and easy access to the care and benefits they were promised when they signed up to serve our country,” Fausone said.
Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC
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Northville, MI 48168
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