A New York and New Jersey Lawyer Who Represents Policyholders and Beneficiaries in Life Insurance Denial Cases

This post concerns disability benefits, so any life insurance afficionados out there who are reading this blog, be forwarned.

You may recall a Supreme Court decision from three years ago that strictly upheld a deadline against a criminal defendant, even though the judge in the case was at fault for it by giving an erroneous instruction.

Adam Liptak reports in the New York Times that this decision, which triggered an angry dissent from Justice Souter, is now being relied upon by courts to bar claims made by disabled veterans.

A case is now heading to the Supreme Court, which will decide if it will grant cert, in which a veteran had 120 days to file an appeal but took 135 days. His excuse wsa that he suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and, according to his psychiatrist, is “incapable of rational thought or deliberate decision-making.”

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington D.C. ruled against the veteran claiming that its hands were tied based on the earlier Supreme Court decision. The dissent, however, called the decision “both ironic and inhumane.”

Since the summer of 2008 there have been about 225 similar dismissals of disabled veterans’ claims based on a failure to meet a deadline.

The irony is that the government takes years, and sometimes decades, to adjudicated veterans’ claims, making it one-sided that veterans must strictly comply with short deadlines when their cases will not be decided for a while.

In one case, the veteran filed his appeal early, but mistakenly sent it to the wrong location, Veterans Affairs. His appeal was denied, even though the VA did not forward the papers to the appropriate entity or notify the veteran.

Let’s remember, the people being harmed by the government here are those who put their lives on the line for it. The irony, indeed.

One Response to “Veterans Disability Benefits Denied”

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