15 Jan NVLSP Sues on Behalf of Veterans
Last month the law firm of Morrison & Foerster, along with the National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) and Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), filed a class action suit on behalf of veterans whose military files contained errors and inaccuracies that prevented them from receiving benefits. The named plaintiffs in the class action suit – Angelo Duran and Scott Fink – both suffer from PTSD and other injuries related to their services in Iraq. Both Duran’s and Fink’s files contained errors and inaccuracies that prevented them from receiving benefits, including disability benefits.
The U.S. Army Board for Correction of Military Records
A key allegation of the suit is that Duran’s and Fink’s request for a review of their military records was denied without the review being conducted by staff of the U.S. Army Board for Correction of Military Records. Typically, whenever a U.S. Army veteran applies to have his or her military record corrected, the U.S. Army Board for Correction of Military Records (ABCMR) convenes its board comprised of civilians who review these applications. According to the suit, however, the ABCMR permitted staff members – rather than the civilian board – to review and issue decisions on thousands of veterans’ applications. The result was that thousands of veterans were having their applications for corrections denied by individuals who had no authority to issue such denials.
Correcting Military Records
Errors and inaccuracies in one’s military records can mean the difference between receiving benefits like veterans’ disability benefits and receiving no benefits at all. Agencies such as the ABCMR are empowered to make corrections to official service records where there appears to be an error or where there is “injustice” (although the exact procedures and criteria used to make such determinations is not readily ascertainable). In order to do this, the service member (or his or her next of kin, if the soldier is deceased) applies by either submitting a paper application or completing an online application.
Once ABCMR receives an application, it begins its review by obtaining the individual’s military records. The ABCMR can request these records on its own or the applicant can submit his or her records directly to the ABCMR. The ABCMR can obtain advisory opinions from other individuals within the U.S. Army to assist it in evaluating the application. If it does obtain an advisory opinion, the ABCMR provides a copy to the applicant and allows him or her to comment on the advisory opinion. This can be helpful if the advisory opinion appears to be unfavorable to the applicant. If necessary, the civilian board will review the application and supporting documents and render a final decision.
Contact the Klok Law Firm, LLC
In some cases, applying for veterans’ disability benefits can be frustrating and difficult., especially if your military record is inaccurate. At the Klok Law Firm, LLC, we are committed to helping injured veterans receive the disability benefits they have earned. If you are a South Carolina veteran and are applying for disability benefits, contact us today at (843) 216-8860 for a free consultation.