Legal Articles

Articles about legal issues

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I have an important advisory and issue of great importance for Air Force Reserve Component Members (Air Reserve and Air National Guard members). A few weeks back a colleague of mine called me and asked whether I had heard of ARC/ANG members being processed through the Legacy Disability Evaluation System (LDES). My friend shared a story of a client who was an AF Reserve member who was referred to the MEB and then the PEB notified his client that he was being processed by the PEB as an LDES case. The client had a current VA rating that was higher than the PEB decision. I was asked what I thought of this and I said that this made no sense and seemed patently illegal. I thought this was just an error or an aberration- until the next day when a prospective client, and ANG member called me and related that while in the MEB process, he was asked to "elect" the LDES process by his PEBLO because his case would be processed faster. My opinion is that this is a patently illegal processing of cases. It is very disturbing to me that this improper use of LDES processing is essentially a policy action by the AF PEBs for ARC/ANG members. Both cases are still processing and there is no definitive answer as to the resolution of this issue, but, I wanted to alert folks about this and let folks know not to agree with LDES processing in cases where they should be processed by the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES). Here is a quick overview of the history and differences between the systems. The "traditional" of LDES system is what was in place for all cases prior to about 2008-2009. The LDES is where members are reviewed by the PEB, which determines both a members fitness and the disability rating assigned for any unfitting condition. After many complaints about the PEBs assigning low ratings for conditions that were then found by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) using the same...
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This is important news. https://www.stripes.com/news/new-la...-to-recoup-erroneous-severance-taxes-1.445215 Via: By TRAVIS J. TRITTEN | STARS AND STRIPES "WASHINGTON — Thousands of veterans injured in combat could soon be able to recoup taxes erroneously collected from their disability severance pay due to a new law signed by President Barack Obama. About 13,800 veterans separated from the military due to their injuries might have been affected, the nonprofit group National Veterans Legal Service Program estimates. Due to an accounting error, as much as $78 million in taxes deducted over decades from the lump sum payments. Federal law considers the severance payments tax exempt. But the nonprofit group said the Defense Finance and Accounting Service system was automatically making deductions since 1991, meaning troops injured in conflicts spanning from the Gulf War to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan might have been taxed thousands of dollars improperly. The Combat-Injured Veterans Tax Fairness Act signed by Obama on Friday requires the Defense Department to calculate what money is owed to whom and provide veterans the option to reclaim the taxes. The lump-sum severance money was paid to veterans who were injured in combat but did not rate permanently disabled. The amounts depended on rank and length of service at the time. The average total payment was about $22,000 – severance ranged between about $12,000 and $100,000 – and was taxed at 25 percent, Moore said. The military was aware of the automatic taxes and attempted to notify troops undergoing medical separation of how to reclaim the money. It required the servicemember to file a claim with DFAS by December of the year that they were separated, Moore said. The...