(Pictured: M-VETS Student Advisor, Greg Pelletier)
The Mason Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic (“M-VETS”) successfully increased a veteran’s Department of Veterans Affairs (“DVA”) overall disability rating from 10% to 80%, resulting in an increase of the veteran’s monthly compensation payments from $152 to $2,035. These payments should continue for the rest of the veteran’s life.
The veteran initially filed a DVA disability claim in 1995 and was awarded a 10% disability rating after his discharge from the United States Air Force. Twenty-five years later, the veteran’s service-connected lumbar spine condition worsened and, as a result, he sought to increase this DVA disability rating with the assistance of M-VETS. M-VETS student-advisors (“SAs”) worked with the veteran and were able to prepare and file a brief seeking to increase the veteran’s DVA lumbar spine disability pay to accurately reflect the severity of his condition. Further, M-VETS SAs were able to identify additional disabilities that were the result of the veteran’s already service-connected disability and filed for DVA disability payments for those conditions on behalf of the veteran.
In June 2022, the DVA granted the claim filed by M-VETS on behalf of the veteran, increasing the veteran’s rating for his service-connected lumbar spine condition and providing new disability ratings for the secondary conditions. This resulted in the veteran’s combined disability rating increasing from 10% to 80%.
The veteran was grateful for M-VETS’s assistance throughout this process. “This was an extremely positive experience for the entire team and family,” said the veteran. “I cannot thank M-VETS enough. As a veteran twenty-five plus years removed from active service, I was unsure where to turn to review my service-connected disability case. Over the course of two years, and successful handoffs among a series of student advisors with regular check-ins and updates, M-VETS was able to successfully adjudicate my disability claim. I really appreciated the open communication and dialogue while working through my claim.”
SA Greg Pelletier commented about the experience: “We are very grateful to have had the opportunity to assist our client with his disability claim. It took almost three years to place our client in his current position and I am proud to have been able to assist in this process.”
“We were honored to have the opportunity to assist this very deserving veteran,” said M-VETS Director, Timothy MacArthur. “I would like to thank the M-VETS SAs who worked tirelessly on this matter from start to finish. With their diligence, we were able to accomplish our client’s goals.”
M-VETS mission is to provide free legal representation to active-duty servicemembers, veterans, and their families, while offering law students the opportunity to receive supervised, practical legal experience. M-VETS provides legal representation for a variety of civil litigation and VA matters. These include uncontested divorces, consumer protection matters, wills and powers of attorney, discharge upgrades, records corrections, military pay and entitlement matters, VA disability benefits appeals, and more.