Veterans Pain & Disability ~ An Important Court Of Appeals Decision
On April 3, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit handed down an important decision that impacts disabled veterans. It found that pain alone—without an underlying diagnosis—may constitute a valid claim for compensation and benefits from the VA. In the case (MELBA J. SAUNDERS v. ROBERT WILKIE, ACTING SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS), the lower court tried to use a previous case as precedent for establishing that pain alone could not be a valid diagnosis when seeking VA compensation and benefits, and, thus, denied Saunders’ claim.
Saunders appealed this decision and the Court of Appeals agreed that the use of the previous case as precedent was incorrect. They also determined that the language of the law did not define the term “disability.” However, when looking to “ordinary meanings” it was clear that pain alone could be determined as a disability.
The Bottom Line: As Military.com states, “if you have chronic pain as a result of your military service, you may want to sharpen up your pencil and look at filing a claim.” If you’re reading this, it’s likely you or a loved one have suffered long enough. My staff and I have the specialized legal skills to help. Contact us for a free case evaluation.