Legal Question in Veterans Law in California

During my 1st enlistment on active duty 1979-1984, I had a motorcylce accident. The base hospital treated me, the V.A. doctor put me on heavy meds for the spinal condition, that occurred after the accident, so I could still fulfill my V.A. contract. I filed for service connected disability on 01/90, and have been denied my benefits now for 23 years. Question: If my original claim for V.A. compensation shows a condition that already existed, and I get approved for my service connected conditions, will the V.A. backpay me for all those years, since the original claim reflects the same conditions?

Asked on 3/24/12, 1:28 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Jill Mitchell-Thein Heard & Smith, LLP

You could only get paid back to the date of your original claim if it has truly been pending at some level all these years. That is highly unlikely. I am guessing you probably were denied and didn't appeal in time at some point and had to start over by re-opening the case, maybe more than once. If you eventually do get benefits granted, the effective date will be the date of the most recent live claim. The only other way you could get an effective date back to 1990 is if the original denial decision contained a clear and unmistakable error. Cases that fit the criteria for that are very rare, and it is even more rare to win one of them. Feel free to email me directly with any further questions. Good luck!

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Answered on 3/26/12, 8:35 am

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