2020 Grantee Case Update From National Veterans Legal Services Program

The Barbara McDowell Foundation has recently approved a new case for which one of its 2020 grantees, the National Veteran Legal Services Program (NVLSP), will use their grant funds. The original case for which the NVLSP received funding resolved without the need for litigation.

Here is the update from NVLSP on their original grant funded case:

The NVLSP prepared a class action lawsuit to file in the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims challenging a major clog that is part of the reasons it takes on average more than five years from the time a veteran files an appeal of a Department of Veterans Affairs (“DVA”) denial of a benefits claim for the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (“BVA”) to decide the appeal. In particular, it was taking the DVA an average of 344 days simply to transfer an appeal to the BVA after certifying that it was ready for the BVA to consider.

Within one week of NVLSP contacting BVA as part of its final, pre-litigation investigation, the DVA changed its position and quickly embarked on a systemic effort to end such “transfer delay.” Over the next six weeks, the DVA identified appeals stuck in this clog and forwarded them to the BVA for decision. A follow-up investigation showed that the DVA had so greatly improved its speed in transferring appeals to the BVA that the NVLSP would be unlikely to achieve better results through litigation. This threatened litigation has brought a long-needed reduction in the delay of appeals to the BVA experienced by our nation’s veterans.

NVLSP’s new case can be found on the Our Grants page of the Foundation’s website. 

(April 2020)