Justice for Warriors Newsletter

July 2023


Since the passage of the PACT Act, NVLSP’s Burn Pits Claims Assistance Program has focused on assisting veterans whose claims for burn-pit-related conditions have been denied by the VA. A veteran may be eligible for free representation from NVLSP if (1) the veteran has a burn-pit-related condition that is not presumptively service-connected under the PACT Act, including sleep apnea, GERD, and gastrointestinal issues; or (2) VA denied benefits for a presumptive condition after August 10, 2022.

Applying for PACT Act-related benefits does not have a specific deadline, but it is important to act promptly. Veterans and survivors should apply for benefits or submit an "Intent to File" by August 9, 2023 to have their benefits retroactively granted from August 10, 2022. This date marks the day when President Biden signed the PACT Act into law.

NVLSP’s free Burn Pits Claims Assistance Program (Burn Pits CAP) is dedicated to helping veterans seeking free representation before the VA on burn-pit related claims for disability benefits.


NVLSP Seeks to Compel VA to Decide Claims of Over 67,000 Veterans Relating to Reimbursement for Emergency Medical Expenses They Paid Between 2016 and 2019

Veterans Say That VA Has Unreasonably Delayed in Deciding Claims Pending for Over 3 ½ Years

Pro Bono Counsel Sidley Austin LLP

On May 18, 2023, the National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSPfiled a motion in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) requesting that the Court compel the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to decide the long-pending claims for reimbursement of certain emergency medical expenses paid by 67,000 veterans. 

The VA was ordered to readjudicate these claims as a result of a class action filed in 2018 but VA never completed them. The motion filed is the most recent effort in an epic legal battle trying to compel the VA to fulfill its lawful obligation to reimburse veterans with private health insurance for any coinsurance they had to pay for emergency expenses incurred at non-VA facilities. 


NVLSP worked with our state partner, South Carolina Department of Veterans’ Affairs (SCDVA) to prepare a News Minute video which features a special segment with NVLSP Director of Training and Publications Rick Spataro and NVLSP Director of CAVC Litigation Stacy Tromble. The video was published on June 15, 2023. Link Here.


(Left to right): Service Women’s Action Network representatives including Col. (Ret.) Lorry Fenner, Lindsay Church, Minority Veterans of America, Senator Richard Blumenthal (center), National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) Renee Burbank, and K.N. McCleary of Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Yale Law School. 


Photo Credit: Office of Senator Richard Blumenthal

Press Conference on the Petition for Anti-discrimination Rules for VA Health Care

On July 20, 2023, NVLSP Director of Litigation Renee Burbank spoke at a press conference with Minority Veterans of America, Sen. Blumenthal and Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Yale Law School. The event focused on a petition for rulemaking that NVLSP joined along with a number of other veterans service and civil rights organizations calling on the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to promulgate a regulation to ensure the VA implements the anti-discrimination provisions under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act for VA-provided health care.

In July 2023, NVLSP Of Counsel Tom Herthel and Special Counsel Louis George attended the Regional Appeals Seminar in Colorado with participants from Colorado, Nebraska, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.

(Left to right): NVLSP Special Counsel Louis George, NVLSP Of Counsel Tom Herthel, David Callahan, Director of the Colorado Division of Veterans Affairs and James Poteet, CDVA Appeals Manager.

Women Veterans Recognition & Resource Fair at Prince George's Community College

NVLSP Staff Attorney Abigail Reynolds attended the Women Veterans Fair on June 8, 2023.

NVLSP Staff, Family Honor The Fallen on Memorial Day Weekend

NVLSP staff and family members participated in the Flowers of Remembrance Day on May 28, 2023 at Arlington National Cemetery to honor our fallen heroes and lay flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. 

Front Row: NVLSP Legal Assistants Melinda Toyen-Fuentes and Paige James, Boston Meador, Anita Meador, Special Counsel Christine Cote Hill, Director of CAVC Litigation Stacy Tromble, Legal Assistant and Petty Officer Second class Brianna LeFrere, USCG, Retired. Back row: Joel Toyen-Fuentes, U.S. Marine Sgt, Joshua Bowman, Sgt. U.S. Army, Retired and NVLSP Appellate Attorney Kenny Meador, Fred Hill and Jim Bartoscyzk.

Cumberland County Veterans Stand Down Event

NVLSP Staff Attorney MacKenzie O'Brien offered her insights at a special event for homeless veterans on May 11, 2023.


On May 24, 2023, NVLSP Director of Training and Publications Rick Spataro and NVLSP Senior Staff Attorney Alexis Ivory conducted an in-person training session for Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Spataro and Ivory also provided training in Wichita, Kansas and Williamsburg, Virginia.

NVLSP Senior Staff Attorney Alexis Ivory conducting an in-person Training for the Illinois Department of Veteran’s Affairs on May 24, 2023.


This year NVLSP continues its dedication to veteran law education by growing its webinar schedule in an effort to educate more veterans advocates on strategies for securing disability benefits for their clients. Experienced NVLSP attorneys will lead discussions on the following topic:


NVLSP also has a comprehensive library of over 20 previously recorded webinars that

are available at your convenience. NVLSP's Training & Publications program also offers: in-person training, the Online Basic Training Course, the Veterans Benefits Manual , and the VA Benefit Identifier



We hope this newsletter inspires you to become more active with NVLSP. If you want to help NVLSP do more for our veterans, here are a few suggestions.

  1. You can follow us on Twitter, connect with us on LinkedIn, and like us on Facebook.
  2. Help us promote our free App for veterans.
  3. Tell a friend about NVLSP.

We look forward to connecting with you again soon!


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