New Court Decisions Advocates Need to Know About (VSO)

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Presenter: Rick Spataro

Length:  103 Minutes

Recorded: October 2018


Webinar Description:

Each year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issue dozens of precedential decisions that impact claims before VA regional offices and the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. While advocates certainly do not need to memorize the names of these cases and the intricate facts involved, it is important to understand the court holdings that affect other VA claimants. The decisions issued by these courts may require you to change your strategies and arguments in a particular case. They may invalidate an argument you had successfully made in the past, or might shed light on a new argument to help a veteran establish entitlement to VA benefits. For example, in the past year, the Federal Circuit changed a 19-year rule on what constitutes an eligible disability for VA benefits. Staying up-to-date on developments in the courts will help you be the most effective advocate possible for your clients. This webinar will highlight the most important changes in Veterans law that have arisen from court decisions over the past year, with a focus on how advocates can use these developments to the advantage of the Veterans they represent.

This recorded webinar will cover issues including:
• Whether pain alone constitutes a disability that is eligible for VA compensation
• New arguments advocates can raise to challenge the adequacy of a VA musculoskeltal examination that fails to provide an opinion addressing the effect of flare-ups of the Veteran’s condition
• How the VA should consider old GAF scores when rating mental disabilities
• What constitutes systemic therapy for purposes of rating skin conditions, and advocacy arguments to show how topical treatment can, in certain cases, be systemic
• How to obtain separate evaluations under different diagnostic codes for the knee
• Developments with respect to awards of attorney fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act
• A preview of important topics the courts will be addressing in upcoming decisions, including the legality of the VA’s policy that Da Nang and other Vietnamese deep water harbors do not qualify for the presumption of Agent Orange exposure
• And more!