CHICAGO, May 15, 2014: The Veterans Administration (VA) recently paid $224,634 in retroactive benefits to Korean War veteran, William Palmer. The award concludes almost 20 years of effort by our client to obtain full disability benefits from the VA.
In August 1996, Mr. Palmer sought, but was denied, an increase in his disability rating following worsening symptoms of muscular dystrophy. Ten years later, in 2006, Mr. Palmer made the same claim and on June 30th, the VA assigned him a 100 percent disability rating. However, that 2006 decision erroneously failed to specify that the effective date for the disability should have been the date of the first claim in 1996 – depriving Mr. Palmer of a full decade worth of benefits to which he was entitled. This dispute about the effective date became the focus of our Firm’s representation of Mr. Palmer.
After three years of fighting the decision at the Regional Office level, Morgan Lewis appealed to the Board of Veterans Affairs in 2012 and argued the case in May 2013. In December 2013, the BVA issued its decision in favor of Mr. Palmer, finding that he was entitled to Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) benefits previously denied between 1996 and 2006. The tax-free award of $224,634, issued on May 1, represents a retroactive payment of benefits from August 1996 to July 2006 at the maximum schedular rating. Two years earlier, in March 2012, Morgan Lewis won an additional claim against the VA for aid and attendance benefits for Mr. Palmer, resulting in another approximately $12,000 in retroactive benefits. In total, Morgan Lewis secured nearly $240,000 in retroactive payments to Mr. Palmer.
The Morgan Lewis team representing Mr. Palmer was led by Labor and Employment associate Allison Powers, assisted by partner Nina Stillman and associate Meredith Riccio.
For more than a century, Morgan Lewis attorneys have committed their time and resources to serving the public good. The firm has a diverse and innovative pro bono practice and devotes substantial resources to community services and charitable activities. In fiscal year 2013, Morgan Lewis lawyers contributed over 71,000 hours to pro bono representations, at a value to its pro bono clients of tens of millions of dollars and equaling an average of well over 50 hours per lawyer. These representations span all practice groups and Morgan Lewis offices worldwide.