Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims Daily Rulings Can Affect Your Claim

Daily rulings in the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims could make the difference in your benefits case. For example, the Court ruled that the VA guideline allowing a surviving spouse to act as a “substitute” in a veteran’s case after the veteran dies does not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.

To provide context, the VA regulation allowing substitution of a spouse to step into claims following a veteran’s death went into effect if the spouse passed away after October 2008. Prior to this ruling, a new case had to be started, but the court did not allow any new supporting evidence to be submitted into the record. The surviving spouse was at an extreme disadvantage and could not be heard in a timely manner.

The matter of the constitutionality of the VA’s October 2008 effective date was brought to the Court of Appeal for Veterans Claims attention in Copeland v. Shinseki, No. 11-2408. The veteran in this case had passed away before the effective date and the VA denied the surviving spouse the ability to substitute into the case. The living spouse fought the VA, arguing that the new law was unconstitutional by violating the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. The spouse’s argument was rejected and the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims backed the effective date of October 2008.

Daily rulings such as this one can carry weight for the outcome of your case. If you are a veteran and your claim has been denied, Jan Dils’ attorneys have the most up-to-date information regarding all laws and regulations of the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Source: Copeland v. Shinseki, Vet. App. No. 11-2408, October 2, 2012, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

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