We suspect that during this time period, should the Haas decision in the United State Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims be upheld, thus denying the DVA's appeal, that the DVA will begin processing the Haas-related cases that have been on hold for nearly 12 months at this point, via an internal memo that directs the Regional Offices to apply the broad definition, hopefully receipt of the Vietnam Service Medal as qualifying criteria, to receive automatic presumption for exposure to Agent Orange.
We also suspect, and certainly our prayers include this, that the Court will require the DVA to handle all Haas related cases expeditiously, and immediately, giving them a priority, and to bridge all claims to their earliest date, regardless of appeals, appeal requirements, or appeal status. In most cases, this would certainly reduce the backlog at the Board of Appeals and Court of Appeals levels.
It should be noticed also that the DVA has been on a rather significant hiring spree of late, in part to assist with the great and ever increasing backlog of cases due to the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns, but also to handle the anticipated increase in active claims when the Haas-related cases are released from their holding area when the Court removes the Stay Order.
For further information, including how to make a public comment on the proposed manual recission [remember, recission does not mean change! The changes must be withdrawn, first, and then proposed new sections of the manual must be put up for comment], please refer to the earlier post: Important info on Comments about the VA's Proposed Manual Change.
We reiterate at this point that we are in favor of the DVA's action on this proposed manual recission. They are finally doing the right thing. And, it is encouraging that they have begun the process well in advance of the decision in Haas.
We have made our comment and it was a positive one in favor of the DVA's proposed action. We recommend that as many of you as possible make a short comment indicating that you favor the proposed recission of the changes made to the M21-1 Manual.
Remember, only about two weeks remain, so make your comments now!
"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." -- President Abraham Lincoln
"Without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious." --President George Washington
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