Veterans' Benefits and Due Process
47 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2010 Last revised: 22 Dec 2011
Date Written: December 22, 2011
America’s veterans have devoted a portion of their lives to protecting our polity. In return, the U.S. government has a moral and statutory obligation to care for them once they return from combat. Despite this responsibility, the Department of Veterans Affairs takes an average of four-and-a-half years to process many veterans’ disability benefits claims and appeals. These inordinate delays are not only morally unconscionable, but they also violate the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. In this Article, we analyze the VA’s claims adjudication process in light of the Supreme Court’s Mathews balancing test, and conclude that these administrative delays fail to provide veterans with procedural due process. To remedy these violations, we argue that Article III courts should issue an equitable injunction directing the VA to process veterans' claims within a fixed deadline.
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