Occasionally Veterans need to appeal their Veterans disability benefits case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims that we can help with.  The Court of Appeals of Veterans Claims (CAVC) is not an official federal court since they are Article I court under the U.S. Constitution.  The difference is not huge since Article I judges do not get the lifetime appointment that Article III federal judges receive.   The problem right now is that CAVC judges are deciding many cases–almost 600 cases per year per judge.  This is according to a recent Washington Post report.  Some of these appeals have been active for a long time.  They are on a “hamster wheel” of endless appeals, remands, and additional appeals.  The Post article points the blame at the Obama Administration which has been high on rhetoric in terms of support of Veterans yet has done little to appoint new nominations for 3 out of the 9 seats that remain vacant at the veterans court.  Based on all the new veterans that are transitioning to regular civilian life it becomes clear that the problem will get worse before it gets better.
New claims at the VA have nearly doubled since 2005, and of the 1.3 million living combat veterans discharged since 2001, nearly half have filed for veterans disability benefits.  Richard Cohen, Director of NOVA , has remarked that today’s veterans are suffering in different ways than Veterans of previous wars such as Vietnam.  This is especially true of the Veterans who may have been involved in roadside bombs, but the explosion will often not directly implode next to a soldier. They will be close enough to suffer brain trauma causing long term impacts that often are not immediately recognizable or traumatizing.  The Post’s report includes other scathing indictments on the VA’s integrity including a case where a Veteran’s medical record had apparently been deliberately altered by the VA to make the disability appear less severe.  The case was eventually heard in a federal Article III court and he was awarded significant retroactive benefits for $175,000 since he should have received his benefits much sooner.
Ban Law Office regularly practices in this Court and sometimes settles Veteran’s disability appeals before briefing based on remands where Board of Veteran Appeal errors can be corrected.  Many cases at the CAVC are settled in this manner since the remand and error rate are so high at the BVA.  Unfortunately this does not bring immediate remedy or compensation to the Veteran, but allows for the opportunity to present more evidence and make the case stronger.