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Justice for Warriors Newsletter
September 2020 
Dear Friends,
NVLSP has been busy advancing our mission, advocating for veterans and innovating new ways to offer resources and assistance despite the pandemic.
This past summer, NVLSP's pro bono program Lawyers Serving Warriors® launched a slate of successful virtual clinics. Topics covered included discharge upgrades, the Integrated Disability Evaluation System, and Combat-Related Special Compensation. The clinics were well attended and connected us with veterans and service members across the country.
We hope you will take a moment to read about other developments and some exciting upcoming events, including webinars, a virtual roundtable discussion on class actions, and our first ever virtual Annual Benefit Event!
Best wishes,

Barton F. Stichman
Executive Director

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and NVLSP Executive Director Bart Stichman 
NVLSP Supports Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's and Rep. Raul Ruiz's "Presumptive Benefits for War Fighters Exposed to Burn Pits and Other Toxins Act of 2020" at Press Conference
On September 15, 2020, NVLSP attended a press conference in support of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's (D-NY) and Rep. Raul Ruiz's M.D. (D-CA) new legislation, the "Presumptive Benefits for War Fighters Exposed to Burn Pits and Other Toxins Act of 2020."  The bill, an amendment to Title 38, U.S.C., would provide a presumption of service connection for certain diseases associated with exposure to toxins, and other purposes.  This legislation would ease the burden of proof for veterans seeking VA benefits for medical conditions resulting from their exposure to burn pits and other toxic emissions during their military service. (Read More)

Swords to Plowshares and NVLSP Release Comments in Response to the Department of Veterans Affairs Proposed Rule on Character of Discharge Determinations
On September 8, 2020, Swords to Plowshares and NVLSP called on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to do away with its unlawful eligibility rules that fail to honor and protect those who were unjustly separated from the military with a less-than-honorable discharge. The comments were filed with the pro bono assistance of Latham & Watkins LLP and the Veterans Legal Clinic at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School. (Read More)
NVLSP Helps Advance Agent Orange Amendment with the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) & Other VSOs
NVLSP joined MOAA and more than 30 other VSOs to help advance amendments to FY2021 of the National Defense Authorization Act for presumptive coverage of bladder cancer, hypothyroidism and Parkinsonism for veterans who are suffering from these diseases as a result of exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam. The groups also advocated for adoption of hypertension as a presumptive disease. See letters to the House and Senate Leadership here.

NVLSP Supports Legislation Mandating VA Reimburse Veterans' Emergency Health Claims

NVLSP advanced the fight for veterans whose claims for reimbursement of their emergency medical expenses at non-VA facilities not covered by private insurance have been wrongfully denied by the VA by supporting legislation introduced by Sen. Blumenthal (D-CT) and other members of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.
NVLSP Wins Class Action Challenging Government's Excessive Fees for Public Access to PACER
On August 6, 2020, NVLSP prevailed before a unanimous panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in a class action brought on behalf of the thousands of organizations and individuals who have been overcharged by the government since 2010 to gain access to all federal court case dockets using the PACER electronic database. In the case styled National Veterans Legal Services Program v. United States, the Court of Appeals agreed with NVLSP that the PACER fees were excessive and that they were being wrongly used to fund government programs not authorized by Congress.  The Court also indicated that these fees represented an impediment to the First Amendment right of access to courts. (Read More)

NVLSP Seeks Class Action Order Requiring VA to Automatically Redecide Thousands of Benefit Claims Denials for Agent Orange-Related Diseases Filed by Vietnam Veterans Who Served in the Territorial Sea of Vietnam
In an effort to secure retroactive benefits for thousands of so-called Blue Water Vietnam veterans, on July 10, 2020, NVLSP filed a  motion for enforcement of the 29-Year Old Class Action Consent Decree in  Nehmer v. United States Veterans Administration in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.  The motion was filed with the pro bono assistance of Paul Hastings LLP. (Read More)
Save the Date! NVLSP is pleased to announce we will be hosting a virtual roundtable discussion on the topic of The New Era of Class Actions in Veterans Law. The date for this free event is November 17, 2020.

Panelists for the roundtable include:
  • Judge Michael Allen, U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
  • Mary Flynn, Chief Counsel, Office of General Counsel, Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Bart Stichman, NVLSP Executive Director,
  • Professor Adam Zimmerman, Loyola Law School
Please stay tuned to our website for the registration link.

Fighting for Equity and Justice
Save the Date! On Thursday, November 19, 2020, NVLSP is hosting its Annual Benefit Event. For the first time, the event will be virtual.
Please check out our website as we update program details as well as sponsorship and ticket opportunities. 

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 topics: 
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 App.

Coming soon! NVLSP will be releasing the newly updated 2020-2021 Veterans Benefits Manual (VBM). The 2020-2021 edition includes new details on how to find out the status of a VA claim as well as VA policy and procedures changes due to COVID-19 among others. The VBM is available for pre-order.

NVLSP's Executive Director Bart Stichman discusses veterans and medical debt in the upcoming November 2020 issue of Consumer Reports magazine! To read the article online, please click here.
Matt Simon of  WHIO-TV reported on the latest efforts to help secure the long overdue reimbursement for Mr. Richard Staab's emergency expenses. Simonhighlights NVLSP's legal efforts and the recent introduction of S. 4149, the Emergency Care Reimbursement Act of 2020 by Senators Richard Blumenthal, Tammy Baldwin, Sherrod Brown, Mazie Hirono, and Jon Tester.

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!