Boies Schiller Flexner and Swords to Plowshares filed an amicus brief in support of the petitioners in Monk v. Shulkin, who are seeking to aggregate a class of all veterans whose disability benefits appeals before the Department of Veterans Affairs have been delayed by more than a year.
There are currently more than 470,000 pending appeals before the department for denials of disability claims, and the average delay is six years. Only 18 percent of appeals are ultimately denied, indicating that more than 80 percent of veterans facing delays are being wrongfully deprived of disability benefits that they earned through their service. “Simple miniesterial tasks, such as forwarding paperwork from one VA department to another, inexplicably take years to complete,” according to the brief. The brief was filed on behalf of Swords to Plowshares and four other organizations that provide legal services to veterans: Connecticut Veterans Legal Center, Veteran Advocacy Project at the Urban Justice Center, New York Legal Assistance Group, and Legal Aid Service of Broward County. The brief addresses the due process harms of the unreasonable delay on amici’s clients, who face acute financial hardships, homelessness, and increased health problems while they wait for the disability benefits they need to survive.