DAV Charitable Service Trust Supports Expanded Court Representation
For many years, DAV programs have provided disabled veterans with the best—and the most—representation at all levels of the VA claims process. The DAV pro bono program at the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims has just completed its most active year ever, providing representation to more than 700 veterans at the court. That number of cases represents a significant share of the court’s docket. The expansion has been made possible by generous support from both the National Service Foundation and the Charitable Service Trust
A small number of significant cases from the veterans court can receive further review at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Those cases, which involve only significant questions of law affecting large groups of veterans, have the potential to change the landscape of veterans benefits. Richard Marbes, Trust Board Chairman, said, “The significance of these cases is too great for us to do anything but ensure that DAV leads the pack here, just as it does at all levels of the claims process.” The Trust Board of Directors backed up the Chairman’s sentiments with dollars, allocating significant funds to ensure that DAV clients with significant cases have the opportunity for expert representation at the federal appeals court. “Just like all DAV representation, this advocacy will be invaluable to the veteran and yet will cost him or her nothing,” Marbes added. “We are proud to provide the fuel to make DAV’s engine roar loudly at the court.”
DAV General Counsel Christopher Clay said, “The generosity of Charitable Service Trust will allow DAV to shape the significant issues in veterans law for decades to come.” Clay added a reminder that DAV clients who have adverse outcomes at the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA) may be contacted by a representative of the DAV program if initial review suggests that further appeal is warranted.
“The nature of court practice makes it impossible for DAV to provide representation in every case,” said Clay. “Those selected for representation will be contacted in plenty of time.
“Nonetheless, veterans are completely within their rights to file appeals themselves or with some other advocacy organization,” he said. “It is important to read the appeal rights notice included with the BVA decision and to make sure that key deadlines are not missed.”