On May 23, the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of H.R. 2288 — the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017. This came weeks after DAV (Disabled American Veterans) national service director Jim Marszalek appeared before Congress to call for the bill’s passage. As Mr. Marszalek testified, “The new appeals framework developed last year by VA, the Board, VSOs and other stakeholders would protect the due process rights of veterans — while creating multiple options for them to receive their decisions in a more judicious manner.”
DAV Washington Headquarters executive director Garry Augustine told DAV.org, “We are happy to see appeals reform legislation finally moving forward.” The website reports that the legislation “has the full support of DAV.”
However, the bill has not been without criticism. Concerns have been raised over the way Section 2(e) limits the VA’s “duty to assist” a veteran once the Regional Office has made its determination. There is no discovery process in VA benefits appeals, so unless the VA has an obligation to go back into its files and find errors, veterans could be denied due process. This is significant because the Government Accountability Office has found that more than 40 percent of remands from the Board of Veterans Appeals to the Regional Offices are due to Regional Office errors.
The House wasn’t finished when it passed H.R. 2288. Five more measures affecting veterans’ rights quickly passed by voice vote:
As attorneys for disabled veterans, we believe it is important to keep veterans informed of their rights. That’s why we are watching the actions taken by the House and Senate very carefully. If you need assistance appealing your veterans’ disability benefits claim, call Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban at 866-866-VETS or contact us online.
Thank to Mr. Spencer I was able to get my VA disability claim re-reviewed and given another chance to receive disability. By far he is one of the most professional lawyers I have ever dealt with. So Veterans if you are looking for help with your VA disability claim I would suggest that you hire Macari, Russotto, Spencer, & Balaban. Thanks again for everything.
— Alfred Daye
As a disabled veteran trying to navigate the complexities of the Veterans Administrations regulations, I turned to the law firm of Marcari, Russotto, Spencer and Balaban. They helped me understand what I needed to do and prepared and presented to the VA an excellent presentation of my case. I recommend them for your legal needs.
— Harry Johnson
I was very satisfied with the excellent and professional manner the law firm handled my claim. I highly recommend any veteran who needs help with his or her claim to use Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban P.C. Special thanks to Mr Spencer for being very professional and courteous during the appeal process. Again Thanks to the entire firm for a job well done!
— Luther Henderson
My husband & I highly recommend this law form to any veteran trying to navigate the endless red tape of the VA. We turned to Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban to handle my husband's appeal and could not have been happier. We enjoyed open and consistent communication regarding our case. Any questions we had were answered immediately.
— Michele DeZayas
Amanda Medina-Morales was our point of contact and she kept us up to date on the progress of our case. It was a pleasure and relief knowing that someone truly competent and professional was handling this and fighting for us.
— Michele DeZayas