George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School

M-VETS Secures $396,000 in DVA Disability Compensation for Vietnam Veteran

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The Antonin Scalia Law School Mason Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic (“M-VETS”) secured a total of $396,000.00 in Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) disability compensation payments for a veteran due to his service in Vietnam. M-VETS had previously secured the Veteran $123,000.00 in retroactive disability payments but argued at a hearing before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA) that the Veteran was entitled to additional disability payments. This effort resulted in the Veteran being paid an additional $273,000.00 for disability payments resulting from the Veteran’s service.

The Veteran initially filed the claim for disability in 2010 and, after being continuously denied by the DVA for seven years, sought the assistance of M-VETS. M-VETS corrected the Veteran’s military records before the Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records (ABCMR) to show boots-on-the-ground service in Vietnam. This evidence provided the basis for a successful Motion for Reconsideration before the BVA, which ruled the Veteran’s condition was service connected. As a result, he was paid $123,000.00 in retroactive disability payments to the original filing date 11 years earlier. However, the DVA unilaterally lowered the Veteran’s disability percentage from 100% to 10% for eight of those 11 years without providing notice to the Veteran.

“I was excited to learn that M-VETS could initially correct our client’s military records with the AFBCMR and convinced the DVA that our client was entitled to service connection for his disability,” said Timothy M. MacArthur, M-VETS Director. “We placed our Veteran in a better position than when we found him, which is always one of our main goals. Nevertheless, we knew the DVA had erred again by not giving our client due process concerning the reduced rating. Further, we believed the rating of 10% did not accurately reflect the severity of his condition. We had more work to help our client, so the Clinic filed an appeal to the BVA.”

MacArthur continued, “After we filed our appeal to the BVA in 2021, it took another two years for our case to be heard by a judge at the BVA. When our day in Court arrived, M-VETS was prepared for the hearing, and we argued our theory of the case to the Court. Fortunately, we prevailed on the merits of our case and convinced the Judge that our client’s rating should not have been reduced and that he was entitled to a 100% rating for the entire period of his disability claim. This ruling resulted in the backdated restoration of our client’s 100% rating, which provided him with the much-needed benefits he earned from his service in Vietnam. A significant amount of hard work went into this effort, and I want to thank the M-VETS student advisors who handled this matter and made this outcome possible for our Veteran.”

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the work you and your staff did to help me get the benefits I was entitled to,” said the Veteran. “It would have never happened without your help. God bless you and all your staff.”

M-VETS provides free legal representation to active-duty Servicemembers, veterans, and their dependents. M-VETS allows law students to receive supervised, practical legal experience by advocating for those who serve or have served in our armed forces. M-VETS provides representation in a variety of matters, including Virginia civil litigation matters, uncontested divorces, consumer protection matters, wills, and powers of attorney, as well as assisting with matters before the DVA and various administrative boards, including discharge upgrades, record corrections, military issues of pay and entitlement, and DVA disability benefits appeals.