by Jim Fausone
Veterans Disability Lawyer
So the government lets veterans hire lawyers, but it is not happy about that. When the VA is wrong at the Court of Appeals, which it is about 75% of the time, VA has to pay legal fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA). The fees are limited, but fair. EAJA applies to any federal claim.
Apparently the Western politicians think environmental groups are getting fat on EAJA fees. So the Republican House has proposed a 7-month moratorium on EAJA fees. If the Senate passes and the President signs it into law, EAJA fees may be suspended or terminated.
What does that mean for veterans? Lawyers, who have to pay staff and overhead, will have to determine if they can afford to work for veterans in the Court of Appeals for free. Veterans will have to face litigation, appellate procedures, and VA’s attorneys, without professional and trained advocates. I suggest the government rethink using this sledgehammer. The problem is the bureaucracy that denies people their rights, not that people prove the government’s missteps.
Write your Congressman and tell them to put the sledgehammer down and work on fixing the system. Don’t deprive veterans of representation.