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Vietnam War Veteran wins Long-Overdue Disability Benefits through Veterans Assistance Project

Charles Manice of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP has successfully secured over $100,000 worth of long-overdue disability benefits for a Vietnam veteran through participation in the City Bar Justice Center’s Veterans Assistance Project.

Client A had been seeking disability benefits since June 15, 2005. His chief disability is PTSD, caused by the routine mortar and rocket attacks that he endured while stationed at a military base in Vietnam. He suffered from nightmares and intense bouts of terror and anxiety. For years Client A dealt with his problems privately, but after a time he could no longer contain his symptoms, and required professional help.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) had denied Client A service-connected disability benefits under a claim for PTSD on the basis of a lack of corroborative evidence. Due to the nature of his assignment, Client A’s personnel record did not indicate an assignment to his base and Client A was only able to offer his personal testimony as proof of the stressful events in his claim for benefits. The VA, despite treating Client A’s condition, did not find his testimony to be sufficient proof.

Client A came to the Veterans Assistance Project at the City Bar Justice Center in October 2007 as one of the first clients of the project. There he met with attorney Manice, who discovered new military evidence that placed Client A on the base in question, and that the base

Charles Manice

Charles Manice

was attacked when he was there. He also obtained an affidavit from a fellow serviceman placing Client A at the scene of the stressful events. Manice assisted his client in obtaining a disability rating of 50% disabled, and then applied for an increase to 70%, along with an application for an additional benefit of Individual Unemployability (IU), which is an additional form of compensation that allows severely disabled veterans who are unable to secure employment to be temporarily compensated at the highest level.

Client A learned in December 2011 that the VA awarded him the 70% disability and the 100% for IU, and apologized for their prior denial. Client A is now receiving approximately $2,800 each month from the VA, as well as retroactive benefits back to June 2005 that amount to over $100,000.

“I can’t thank you enough,” Client A told Manice. For his part, reflecting on the five-plus years it took for the VA to award Client A the benefits to which he is entitled, Manice called the case “a prime example of why attorney assistance is needed” for benefit-entitled veterans.

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7 Responses to Vietnam War Veteran wins Long-Overdue Disability Benefits through Veterans Assistance Project

  1. Diane B. Kadlec says:

    Charles, Congratulations! You did a great job -As I read the article, I was reminded of the appalling length of time that vets have to wait for their benefits. A Vietnam vet/atty is convinced that the VA wants VN vets to die rather than process their claims in a timely fashion. It is a sad commentary on the plight of our vets as regards the VA and its awarding of benefits. I have a case before the US Ct. of Apeals for Vet. Claims in DC. I am arguing to add another FRE (judicial notice) to the Ct’s quiver. Sometimes the VA and BVA make mistakes and jud. notice would allow the vet to introduce add’l evidence after the record is closed. It’s dicey because CAVC is an Art. I Ct.however in the interest of attaining a fair, reasonable and just decision my argument may just fly this time. Diane

  2. ROGER T.MERCER says:

    I AM A”DISGRACED(UNDESIRABLE DISCHARGE)VIETNAM VET.I SERVED WITH THE 173RDAIRBORNE BRIGADE MAY 1965-JUNE 1966.
    I WAS 17.5 YEARS OLD WHEN I WENT THERE.
    MY C.O.(CAPT.GEORGE NYFLER)OFFERED ME A CHANCE TO COME BACK TO THE STATES(IN LATE JUNE,EARLY JULY,BUT,I OPTED TO STAY.
    I ENDED UP GETTING THREE ART.15S FROM MY SECOND C.O.
    AFTER RETURNING TO THE STATES I GOT INTO TROUBLE WITH THE LAW AND SERVED 2 YEARS IN PRISON.
    I BELIEVE THAT I SUFFER FROM PTSD AND SEREVAL OTHER PROBLEMS BECAUSE OF MY SERVICE,BUT,I AM HAVING A HARD TIME TRYING TO PROVE SOMETHINGS(PTSD IN PARTICULAR).I HAVE TRIED FOR 46 YEARS TO FIND SOMEONE TO HELP AND NONE OF THE SERVICE ORGS. HAS HELPED(BECAUSE OF MY DISCHARGE.IF YOU COULD HELP,IT WOULD BE GREATFULLY APPRECIATED,IF NOT,I WILL UNDERSTAND.SINCERELY,MERCER

  3. Stephen J. Elliott says:

    Can you help me.
    On 27 February 1969, I was drafted into the U.S. Army
    Thirty days later I became the 17th recruit infected in the Epidemic of Bacterial Spinal Meningitis at Fort Lewis, WA. (I was the last person infected in the Epidemic).
    On 28 March 1969, I was admitted into Madigan General Hospital, Tacoma, WA.
    The 16 recruits infected in the Epidemic before me died.
    A VA Doctor and the five Scientist at the hospital collecting infected spinal fluid during the Epidemic told me I was going to die.
    I spent the next 5 days in Intensive Care floating in and out of a coma waiting for death. I was given my “Last Rites.”
    During those 5 days over 40 ounces of spinal fluid was drained from my back. My wife counted 14 spinal taps while she was there, draining 3 ounces of milky white fluid from my back each time. The five Scientist and the VA Doctor told me and my wife that my death would not be in vain, that my Spinal Fluid would be used to create a vaccine for the disease and would save millions of lives.
    I survived.
    I was informed by the Hospital Commanding Officer, Lt. Col. Gardner U.S.Army that I would receive a medical discharge 100% disability as soon as I was discharged from the hospital.
    When I was able to walk with crutches Lt.Col. Gardner gave me a 30 day convalescent leave.
    Two weeks into that 30 leave the Doctor working with the five Scientist reported me as AWOL.
    Military Records prove this fact.
    I can think of no reason other than to discredit any claim I would make in the future.
    When I returned to Fort Lewis all my medical records of concerning Bacterial Spinal Meningitis were missing or destroyed.
    There was no evidence I ever had the disease.
    *The VACCINE for Bacterial Spinal Meningitis was released to the public in late 1970 and remained the only vaccine until 2005. The current price per injection is $130.
    The Deadly Disease left me 100% disabled and unable to perform military duties.
    I had no evidence of having the disease and was forced to remain in the military and endure pain and ridicule for the remaining portion of the two years of service.
    I was discharged from the Army on 26 Feb 1971…
    Not with the Medical Discharge I was told I was going to receive, but with an Undesirable Discharge for being unable to perform the duties of a soldier.
    This discharge denied me of VA medical assistance and benefits.
    To get relief from some of the pain and suffering of: PTSD, Seizures, Memory Loss, Migraines, Degenerative Disk Disease and Brain Damage, I self medicated with alcohol, (Rum).
    My wife separated from me less than 6 months later.
    To get jobs I had to lie about my health record.
    I chased jobs none lasting over a year.
    Farmers Insurance denied me life insurance in 1974 after I told them I had Bacterial Spinal Meningitis in the military.
    I went to Madigan General (VA) Hospital to search for the records but was turned away. The discharge I received denied me entrance to the hospital.
    Year after year I sent request for my medical records to the NPRC: National Personnel Records Center each returned: “NO DOCUMENTS FOUND…
    In 2004 I sent 25 separate request for records spelling my name every way possible.
    I received 6 pages of medical records from Madigan General VA Hospital.
    Those 6 pages proved I was admitted, diagnosed and treated for Bacterial Spinal Meningitis while serving in the U.S.Army.
    I submitted this evidence to the VA and was immediately upgraded to an HONORABLE DISCHARGE. I began receiving 10% disability benefits – the minimum amount paid to a Meningitis Survivor.
    I submitted evidence of Migraines and began receiving 50% disability for Migraines from the VA.
    For 40 years I had no benefits and had to endure pain and suffering and disgrace.
    I am now struggling to get my disability increased to the 100% I was originally slated to receive.
    I have 2 claims (3 years old): Unable to work (last date worked 1998) and PTSD or Seizures or Degenerative Disk Disease. I have been diagnosed with all these disabilities by VA Doctors and Treated for the same at a VA Hospital in Los Angeles, CA.
    I also submitted a claim for memory loss due to brain damage that was confirmed by a Cat Scan performed by the VA. I can’t remember if the VA has denied that claim.
    I have been denied claim after claim for not having records of my self medication.
    The last doctor that treated and prescribed medication for my disabilities died in the 1990′s and all his/my records apparently went with him.
    My present claims were scheduled to be reviewed by a VA Claims Review Officer on 12 Feb 2012. They were placed aside until 22 April then on 07 May my claims were set aside again with no reason other than to review the claims of more recent disabled veterans.
    I believe the VA is waiting for me to die in order to get their bonus in BLOOD MONEY.
    CAN YOU HELP ME?
    I am trying to receive the 100% disability I was supposed to receive 43 years ago.
    I asked the VA if I could file for the back payments of the 40 years of not receiving benefits (10% minimum) I was told NO.
    WILL YOU HELP ME?

  4. Steven says:

    Please email me. I would appreciate some input from you. I was a soldier in Ft Ord, CA in 1964. There was similar outbreak of meningitis at that time and several soldiers in my unit died from it. I am interesting in hearing more.

  5. I am a vietnam vet. and have been trying to get my benifits for three years and all i’ve got is the run-around. All i can get is were working on it.

  6. john says:

    think you are unaware of V A Final Rule 10/2010. Also NVLSP will fight the V A free of charge and army review board can help. 1.vietvet 2. any presumptive disease 3. PTSD case is good file a claim and contact NVLSP

  7. john says:

    contact NVLSP. law firm that fights and wins va crap. free service. they are good

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