The Pro-Claimant Paradox: How The United States Department of Veterans Affairs Contradicts Its Own Mission
36 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2019
Date Written: April 1, 2016
Congress and the United States Supreme Court unequivocally agree that the United States Department of Veterans Affairs must maintain a "pro-claimant system," in which all actions should be taken with deference to veterans and their family members. In this article, however, Benjamin Pomerance and Katrina J. Eagle demonstrate that recent changes within the VA have been anything but "pro-claimant" in nature. Rather, these alterations make an already-bureaucratic system more bureaucratic, resulting in the process of obtaining benefits more burdensome for the veterans and their family members whom the Department of Veterans Affairs was created to serve. From the evisceration of the informal claims process to the inclusion of misleading questions on standardized forms to the operation of a damaging fiduciary system for veterans who are deemed to be incompetent, Pomerance and Eagle reveal a bureaucracy in need of significant changes if it is to actually fulfill the "pro-claimant" mandate that Congress and the Court repeatedly affirm.
Keywords: Veteran, VA, Department of Veterans Affairs, Claim, Pro-Claimant, Fiduciary, Informal Claim, Federal Government, Misleading, Survivors' Benefits
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