Recent Court Decisions Veterans Advocates Need to Know About (August 2020-February 2021) (Attorney)

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Presenter: Emily Deutsch

Length: 96 Minutes

Recorded: February 2021

Approved for 1.5 CLE credits by the Virginia State Bar


Webinar Description:

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 each year that impact thousands of claims before VA regional offices and the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. Without an understanding of these recent changes to veterans law, you will be less effective in developing strategies and arguments to help veterans win their claims. These court decisions could provide new avenues for you to help a veteran establish entitlement to VA benefits, but might also invalidate arguments you successfully made in the past.

By staying up-to-date with recent court decisions that are binding on the VA, you will be better able to advise veterans about important issues from whether they might qualify for an extraschedular rating to whether they can receive compensation for symptoms that have not been attributed to a diagnosed condition.

This webinar will highlight the most important changes in Veterans law that have arisen from court decisions issued from August 2020 through February 2021, with a focus on how advocates can use these developments to the advantage of the veterans they represent.

By the end of this webinar, you should understand:
• The meaning of the term “relevant” for purposes of determining if VA must reconsider a previously denied claim and award an earlier effective date for benefits when it receives “relevant” service records that were not previously part of the veteran’s claims file
• When a record not actually in a veteran’s claims file is considered “constructively” part of the file, to include whether VA adjudicators need actual knowledge of the record
• When the presumption of regularity applies to VA mailings and how that presumption can be rebutted
• Numerous factors the VA should consider when determining whether a veteran’s symptoms are “exceptional” or “unusual” for extraschedular rating purposes
• What is necessary to establish that pain unassociated with a diagnosed condition causes functional impairment of earning capacity such that it constitutes a disability
• Whether a claimant can establish service connection for psychiatric symptoms that cause functional impairment, but that are not associated with a DSM-5 diagnosis
• The level of specificity veterans must use on a claim form to identify the disability for which they are seeking compensation
• And court holdings on many other important issues!