The Attig Law Firm recently persuaded the BVA to reverse and remand a VA denial of a Veteran's Claim.
The Veteran in this case has a rather rare condition known as Primary Lateral Sclerosis (PLS). Like ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's Disease) and PMA (Progressive Muscular Atrophy), PLS is an motor neuron disorder. There are a couple key differences between this Veteran's PLS and ALS:
1) ALS is a condition that involves dysfunction of both the upper and lower motor neurons. If a Veteran who had "boots on the ground" in Vietnam during the time of the Vietnam War, any subsequent diagnosis of ALS will be service connected as presumed caused by Agent Orange exposure.
2) PLS is a condition that involves dysfunction of primarily upper motor neurons. PLS is not on the list of conditions that may be service-connected due to Agent Orange exposure.
In this case, the Veteran argued - and persuaded the BVA - that his PLS was not a distinct disease entity from his ALS. In fact, the Veteran had been originally diagnosed with ALS. An expert medical professional offered testimony to the BVA, explaining how this Veteran's PLS was not a distinct disease entity from his PLS, and instead was a progression of his ALS (which presently presents as PLS).
In the end, the BVA understood the argument, vacated the VA Regional Office denial of the Veteran's claim for service-connection of his PLS, and remanded the case back to the VA Regional Office for a Compensation and Pension Exam and to consider whether the Veteran's PLS should be presumptively service connected as secondary to ALS, and/or the same disease entity as the ALS.
Ultimately, the legal issue in this case was whether or not the Veteran had submitted New and Material Evidence to reopen his claim. This is a common VA Regional Office error - the VARO often finds that new evidence (generally defined as evidence never before considered by the VA) is not material (related to a missing element of the previously denied claim). The VAROs are often reversed, as most times new evidence is also material.
It is the opinion of this attorney that if VA claims examiners would properly apply the regulations as to what constitutes "new and material evidence" for a reopened claim, that the VA could cut its backlog of cases in half.
The Attig Law Firm represents US Veterans in their disability benefits claims to the VA. The Attig Law Firm represents Veterans nationwide before the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA), or the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC).
For claims at the VA Regional Office level, the Attig Law Firm focuses its efforts on Veterans (and the Surviving Spouses of Veterans) in Texas, Arkansas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
If you are a Veteran (or a surviving spouse of a Veteran) and have a claim before the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA), or the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC), it is very important that you consider hiring an attorney with experience handling such claims. Even if you don't hire the Attig Law Firm - find a reputable and competent attorney to help you with your Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) Appeal.
No post on this website is meant to be legal advice and the posts on this website do not serve as a substitute for legal advice. Information is power, and we are providing this information to give you, the Veteran, some power. This information is not widely or easily accessible to Veterans. The information presented on this website is a general description of law and processes; each case is different, and there may be approaches listed here that are not accurate or applicable to your case. Likewise, there may be information that is applicable to your case that is not provided on this Veterans Disability Compensation Blog.
It is very important that the Attig Law Firm notes that each and every Veteran's claim is different. Just because the Attig Law Firm was able to secure substantial past-due benefits for one Veteran or Veteran's spouse does not mean or imply that we will be able to do so for you. In some cases, the Attig Law Firm may not be able to secure any financial compensation or past-due benefits due to the facts or law of your particular case.
It is best to consult with a lawyer familiar with VA Disability claims and benefits or a Veterans Service Organization to examine your particular case. If you would like to discuss your VA claim with a lawyer who handles VA Benefits and Disability Appeals, contact the Attig Law Firm, PLLC, for a free consultationwith a VA Benefits attorney.
Chris Attig, an Accredited Veterans Benefits attorney and Founder of the Attig Law Firm, PLLC is responsible for the content of the site. The principal office of Attig Law Firm, PLLC, is located in Dallas, Texas. Chris Attig is NOT Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. - Please view our website disclaimer.
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