After six years of appeals, a veteran finally received an award of $198,000 from the Veterans Administration for the sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of his superior officer. It’s estimated he will receive an additional $324,000 in future benefits making the total award $522,000. The veteran (name withheld due to the sensitivity of his case), who initially contacted Jeffrey Freedman Attorneys, PLLC, for assistance with his claim, did not present any mental health issues when he enlisted in the services. He was receiving excellent performance reviews until he was stationed in Germany, where he was assaulted by a Sergeant.
“He was very ashamed of the incident and did not discuss it with anyone, nor were there any official records documenting the assault,” said Jeffrey Freedman, managing attorney, Jeffrey Freedman Attorneys, PLLC. “The trauma he suffered manifested itself in disciplinary problems, which escalated over time.”
The VA denied his claim of 100 percent disability in 2012, because he had not reported the assault or talked to anyone about it. Eric Gang, the attorney who handled the case knew this client had a solid claim. Gang and the legal team obtained a forensic psychiatric review which corroborated that the client’s discipline problems only appeared after the attack.
“We knew the client deserved 100 percent disability, but getting a successful resolution took time,” Freedman said. “After the psychiatrist’s report was submitted, the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA) still denied the claim.”
The next step was to go to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, which remanded the case back to the BVA. At that time the legal team obtained another expert opinion and the BVA granted the client a 100 percent disability rating, with $198,000 in back pay and benefits of $3,000 per month.
“Since this client is only 65 years old and his life expectancy is at least another 10 years, he can expect to collect at least $324,000 in additional benefits,” Freedman said. “So to the veteran, who fully deserved his benefits, the claim will result in more than $500,000 over his lifetime.”