BVA wrongly denied survivor accrued benefits
Attorney Chris Attig has been working with this veteran's survivor for half a decade to get her DIC and survivor's accrued benefits properly awarded.
The veteran was a 3 decade military veteran, who fought not only in Thailand during the Vietnam War, but also fought in the first Gulf War.
The problems first began with a VSO who advised the survivor that veterans who served in Thailand during the Vietnam War were not exposed to Agent Orange; based on this unmistakeably wrong "advice", the survivor was denied DIC and accrued benefits.
After retaining Attig | Steel to take over the battle from a VSO who did not know the current veterans law, the VA continued to drag its heels and ignored the survivor's pleas for help, even as she lost her family home and nearly became homeless.
Attig Steel had to file a petition for writ of mandamus to get the VA and BVA to act.
The BVA granted DIC - Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, or sometimes generally referred to as service connection of the cause of death. However, they continued to deny accrued benefits to the surviving spouse for her late husband's colon cancer, first present during military service.
The BVA also found that the now deceased veteran had withdrawn a claim for SMC (Special Monthly Compensation) based on his need for aid and attendance. The record showed that the VA misled the veteran into thinking he was receiving the benefit, and failed to follow the strict procedures under which a veteran might withdraw a case or claim.
The BVA decision denying survivor accrued benefits was remanded, as was the BVA decision that the veteran withdrew his claim for SMC based on Aid & Attendance.
The Attig | Steel firm is committed to working with this survivor to help her recover her accrued benefits on remand to the BVA and VA Regional Office.
UPDATE: This survivor was granted accrued benefits and SMC for a number of conditions with open and pending claims at the time of the veteran's death. Attig | Steel continues to work with the survivor to ensure that the VA provides the earliest possible effective date the record supports.
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Link to the BVA Decision on CAVC Website.
Link to the Joint Motion to Remand the CAVC Website.
OGC Attorney: Michael G. Imber
Veteran Representation at CAVC: Chris Attig (link to bio)
Board of Veterans Appeals Veterans Law Judge: S.B. Mays
Regional Office: Winston-Salem, North Carolina VARO
Vets’ Rep at BVA: Chris Attig (link to bio)
Date of BVA Decision: June 9, 2017
Date of CAVC Judgment on Remand: February 14, 2018