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Historic Lawsuit Challenges Unacceptable Delays in Delivering Benefits to America's Veterans by Department of Veterans Affairs
Date:11/10/2008

Vietnam Veterans Of America & Veterans Of Modern Warfare Fight For Faster Benefit Decisions And Interim Benefits 'Lifeline'

WASHINGTON, Nov. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, two groups representing thousands of American veterans, Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) and Veterans of Modern Warfare (VMW), announced that they have filed a lawsuit against the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The lawsuit, which was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, seeks to end the unconscionable delays experienced by veterans when applying for disability benefits. VVA and VMW seek immediate action to prevent further irreparable harm to our nation's veterans.

The lawsuit demands that the VA provide an initial decision on every veteran's claim for disability benefits within 90 days and resolve appeals within 180 days. Additionally, the veterans groups ask that the Court grant further relief in the form of interim benefits awards in the event that the VA exceeds these minimum standards of constitutionally-guaranteed due process. These interim benefits will provide veterans with a lifeline of support when it is most needed to facilitate reintegration into their lives back home.

"The failure to expedite veterans' compensation claims creates, at best, the impression that the nation does not respect its veterans," said John Rowan, National President, Vietnam Veterans of America. "America's veterans deserve more, and the VA's failure to fulfill its responsibilities brings dishonor to our nation and can only make the call of military service more challenging."

The VA acknowledges that it takes an average of at least six months to reach an initial decision on an average benefits claim; the actual delay is closer to a year. Appeals of these initial decisions, which are reversed more than 50 percent of the time, take, on average, more than four years, with some stretching 10 years or more. In contrast, private healthcare
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SOURCE Vietnam Veterans of America; Veterans of Modern Warfare
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