Parallel Lines Never Meet: Why the Military Disability Retirement and Veterans Affairs Department Claim Adjudication Systems are a Failure

81 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2010

See all articles by Thomas Reed

Thomas Reed

Widener University Delaware Law School

Date Written: February 9, 2010

Abstract

Service members who are injured or come down with a disease while on active duty have two roads to seek compensation for disability benefits that are part of the enlistment contract. The first road is military disability retirement, administered by the armed services. The second road is VA compensation administered by the cabinet-level Department of Veterans Affairs. Both systems are near collapse due to a backlog of undecided claims and manifest injustices in awarding benefits to disabled veterans and dependents.

Professor Reed proposes a radical reform of the dual compensation system by combining military disability retirement and VA benefits into a single program administered by the VA. He also proposes a "clean up" of the Va claims processing system to make the system work. That “clean up" includes setting deadlines for VA action, providing limited discovery for Board of Veterans Appeals hearings and re-writing the overly-complex Schedule for Rating Disabilities into a simple four step award system.

Keywords: Military, Disability, Veterans, Department of Veterans Affairs, VA, Benefits, Disabled Veterans

JEL Classification: K23, K39

Suggested Citation

Reed, Thomas, Parallel Lines Never Meet: Why the Military Disability Retirement and Veterans Affairs Department Claim Adjudication Systems are a Failure (February 9, 2010). Widener Law Journal, Vol. 19, 2009, Widener Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-07, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1550333

Thomas Reed (Contact Author)

Widener University Delaware Law School ( email )

4601 Concord Pike
Wilmington, DE 19803-0406
United States

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