Please read this important story about the possible denial of the right of wounded veterans to have attorney representation. The story is posted on VA Watchdog. Here are a few excerpts from the article:
Last year, Congress passed “Attorneys for Veterans” legislation that would have allowed vets to hire an attorney to represent them in the VA claims process after the VA issued an initial denial of claim.
But, there was a backroom deal to have that repealed as soon as the 110th Congress convened. That deal is still in the works, although repealer legislation has not been introduced as of yet.
This is still a hot issue on Capitol Hill. Opposing the right of a veteran to choose an attorney, if they wish, is the DAV. In testimony earlier this week the DAV said: “…an agreement was entered into that the then Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and others would introduce legislation to repeal the attorney fee provision. We look to those Senators to honor their agreement and repeal this ill-advised provision.”
On the other side of this argument in Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID), Ranking Minority Member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. In a press release issued today Craig said: “This law would simply provide veterans with the option of hiring lawyers, if they so choose. If quality, free representation is available from a veterans service organization, such as the DAV, I fully expect most veterans would decide that is a better option than paying a lawyer.”
It’s all about choice…and the DAV doesn’t want to give vets a choice.
One of those who favors choice for vets is Frank Q. Nebeker, former Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims.
More recently, Nebeker wrote a letter to Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. In that letter, Nebeker said: “In our society today, everyone but veterans with claims is free to have lawyer representation, and they are wise to seek it given our system of rights and duties. Even a convicted felon is entitled to counsel, as is a Social Security claimant. Why should veterans be deprived of the right everyone else has? Veterans are no longer deemed wards of the state requiring protection from historically perceived predators possessed only of self interest. They should be entitled to representation of their choice.”
Let’s keep hounding our elected representatives to make sure this legislation in not repealed and veterans truly have a choice of representation.
Refer to S. 3421, Public Law 109-461 and ask that it NOT be repealed.