Vietnam War Veteran wins Long-Overdue Disability Benefits through Veterans Assistance Project
by CBJC Staff February 27, 2012
Charles Manice of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP has successfully secured over $100,000 worth of long-overdue disability benefits for a Vietnam veteran through participation in the City Bar Justice Center’s Veterans Assistance Project.
Client A had been seeking disability benefits since June 15, 2005. His chief disability is PTSD, caused by the routine mortar and rocket attacks that he endured while stationed at a military base in Vietnam. He suffered from nightmares and intense bouts of terror and anxiety. For years Client A dealt with his problems privately, but after a time he could no longer contain his symptoms, and required professional help.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) had denied Client A service-connected disability benefits under a claim for PTSD on the basis of a lack of corroborative evidence. Due to the nature of his assignment, Client A’s personnel record did not indicate an assignment to his base and Client A was only able to offer his personal testimony as proof of the stressful events in his claim for benefits. The VA, despite treating Client A’s condition, did not find his testimony to be sufficient proof.
Client A came to the Veterans Assistance Project at the City Bar Justice Center in October 2007 as one of the first clients of the project. There he met with attorney Manice, who discovered new military evidence that placed Client A on the base in question, and that the base
was attacked when he was there. He also obtained an affidavit from a fellow serviceman placing Client A at the scene of the stressful events. Manice assisted his client in obtaining a disability rating of 50% disabled, and then applied for an increase to 70%, along with an application for an additional benefit of Individual Unemployability (IU), which is an additional form of compensation that allows severely disabled veterans who are unable to secure employment to be temporarily compensated at the highest level.
Client A learned in December 2011 that the VA awarded him the 70% disability and the 100% for IU, and apologized for their prior denial. Client A is now receiving approximately $2,800 each month from the VA, as well as retroactive benefits back to June 2005 that amount to over $100,000.
“I can’t thank you enough,” Client A told Manice. For his part, reflecting on the five-plus years it took for the VA to award Client A the benefits to which he is entitled, Manice called the case “a prime example of why attorney assistance is needed” for benefit-entitled veterans.
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