Latest updates on this and related VA/Army lawsuits posted in "As Second Legal Attempt Fails to Force VA Hand on Disability Claims Processing, Army Sued Over Discharged Veteran PTSD Disability Ratings." -- Ilona Meagher, 12/17/08
From San Francisco's KGO Channel 7 [ABC]:
A legal battle affecting some 600,000 veterans, many with post traumatic stress disorder came to a San Francisco courtroom today. The federal government is trying to dismiss a lawsuit filed over a tremendous backlog for treatment.
The lawsuit filed by veterans groups in July asks the federal court to intervene to require the Veterans Administration to change its procedures so it can handle disability claims in a fair and timely manner.
Today, a judge heard arguments on the government's motion to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming that the federal courts have no jurisdiction in this case -- that only Congress does.
In educational interest, article(s) quoted from extensively.
Attorneys for the veterans groups say there's a 600,000 case backlog of disability claims from those who served in Iraq, Afghanistan and even Vietnam.
"The whole system is completely broken down. There just is no justice for our veterans," said Veterans with Disabilities attorney Gordon Erspamer.
The lawsuit claims that aside from the huge backlog, the delays are caused by restrictions on veterans' due process rights and an unfair appeals process.
They want people to give up. That's what they want to do because its so difficult, it takes so much time and its so frustrating. ... Judge Samuel Conti said he'll rule later, probably next month whether to dismiss the case or allow it to go to trial.
Attorneys for the VA refused to comment outside the courtroom. But in July when the suit was filed, the VA told ABC7 in a written statement that "veterans have access to widely recognized quality health care, and the VA gives priority handling to their monetary disability claims."
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