As part of Proskauer’s collaboration with the New York City Bar Justice Center, I recently had the honor of assisting an Army veteran in his claim for disability benefits before the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) alongside Alex Hill, Karen Levya-Drivin and Paul Ramundo from Bloomberg LP.
Injured while on active service overseas, the veteran sustained debilitating injuries that were controllable by medication, which he would have to continue taking for the rest of his life. When he returned home, he had a difficult time supporting himself as a result of his injury. He applied for disability benefits at the VA four times, but each time his claim was rejected, either for insufficient documentation or based on the VA policy applicable to his type of injury. In each case, the explanation from the VA was brief, and he did not understand why he kept getting turned down.
Once we took his case, we were able to research the VA regulations and prior cases for context. We discovered that the VA had rejected his claims based on a prior policy that had been changed recently in his favor. We revised his papers, reapplied for benefits, and, in less than three months, our veteran was awarded approximately $18,000 in back benefits and will receive over $1,000 per month and free VA medical care for the rest of his life. Our veteran was thrilled and the team was equally happy.
Having spent most of my career practicing before the Patent and Trademark Office obtaining patents in the consumer electronics area, this case was quite a change for me. I previously thought that prosecuting the patent on the portable compact disk player was the highlight of my career, but this certainly tops it all.