Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP Attorney and the City Bar Justice Center Win Long-overdue Disability Benefits for Vietnam Veteran

Friday, March 02, 2012

  • City Bar Justice Center

Charles Manice of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP successfully secured over $100,000 worth of long-overdue disability benefits for a Vietnam veteran through participation in the City Bar Justice Center’s Veterans Assistance Project.

Client A, a Vietnam Veteran, had been seeking disability benefits since June 15, 2005. His chief disability is PTSD, caused by the routine mortar and rocket attacks that he endured while stationed at an Air Force Base in Vietnam. He suffered from nightmares and intense bouts of terror and anxiety. For years Client A dealt with his problems privately, but after a time he could no longer contain his symptoms, and required professional help.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) had denied Client A service-connected disability benefits under a claim for PTSD on the basis of a lack of corroborative evidence. Due to his assignment in a special operations unit, Client A’s personnel record did not indicate an assignment to his base and Client A was only able to offer his personal testimony as proof of the stressful events in his claim for benefits. The VA, despite treating Client A’s condition, did not find his testimony to be proof enough.

Client A came to the Veterans Assistance Project at the City Bar Justice Center in October 2007 as one of the first clients of the project. There he met with attorney Charles, who discovered new military evidence that placed Client A on the Air Force base, and that the base was attacked when he was there. He also obtained an affidavit from a fellow serviceman placing Client A at the scene of the stressful events. From beginning to end, Charles would not give up, and would not be deterred by the previous denial of Client A’s claim. Charles assisted his client in obtaining a disability rating of 50% disabled, and then applied an increase to 70%, along with an application for an additional benefit of Individual Unemployability (IU), which, an additional form of compensation that allows severely disabled veterans who are unable to secure employment to be temporarily compensated at the highest level.

Client A learned in December 2011 that the VA awarded him 100% disability. Client A is now receiving about $2,900 each month from the VA, as well as retroactive benefits back to June 2005 that amount to over $140,000.

Despite the fact that it took more than five years for the VA to award Client A the benefits to which he is entitled, Charles is overjoyed by the victory. Client A’s case, says Charles, “is a prime example of why attorney assistance is needed” for benefit-entitled veterans. Furthermore, he is saddened “by the fact that there must be many benefit-entitled veterans who have given up” in the fight for the benefits they deserve. But what remains most important for veterans like Client A is that there are attorneys like Charles who do believe so adamantly in veterans’ rights. Charles was willing to go the extra mile to do everything within his power to help his client, and would not rest until he had achieved the best possible outcome. On behalf of the City Bar Justice Center, Client A said it best: “I can’t thank you enough.”