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Standing Up for Veterans

Covington has a long and deep commitment to serving veterans who were injured as a result of their service and are therefore entitled to disability benefits. In 2006, Covington was instrumental in securing the right of veterans to have legal representation in benefits appeals pending before the Veterans Administration. In our current veterans practice, we work with the National Veterans Legal Services Program to represent individual veterans in their benefit cases, as well as to advance legislative and litigation initiatives to protect and expand veterans’ access to benefits.  Our Veterans Affinity Group actively supports the firm’s pro bono work on behalf of veterans.

Representative Matters

Historic Class Action Victory

In partnership with the National Veterans Legal Services Program, Covington won a historic class action that granted classwide relief to veterans who had experienced inexcusable delays by the Veterans Administration in processing appeals of benefits denials. The four class representatives, veterans of the United States Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine Corps, each had been waiting over two years for the VA to advance their appeals to the next stage of review. In granting the petition, the Court noted: "Ordinarily, the Court affords the Secretary great deference in how he chooses to run the day-to-day operations of the agency. But extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures, and the Secretary's longstanding failure to remedy the unreasonable delays in accomplishing pre-certification review, resulting in claimants waiting in line for years with no action being taken by VA, has compelled the Court's intervention in this case." The Court ordered VA to process the appeals of all class members within 120 days.

Military Discharge Upgrades

Through staffing community clinics and taking on individual representations, Covington lawyers have assisted dozens of veterans, who were involuntarily separated from the military and received a less than honorable discharge, to apply for military discharge upgrades. Due to the nature of their military service, many service members are afflicted with PTSD and other mental health conditions that may have contributed to misconduct resulting in a discharge with a less than honorable characterization of service. A less than honorable discharge may prevent a veteran from receiving VA benefits and health care, hurt employment opportunities, and damage reputation and self-esteem. Covington is proud to help veterans correct their military records and receive recognition for their honorable service.

Launching Public Interest Careers Aiding Veterans

Through Equal Justice Works (EJW), the firm has partnered with Northrop Grumman to sponsor multiple two-year fellowships for recent law school graduates interested in serving the veterans community, Each EJW fellow has developed an innovative fellowship project to help veterans. The firm has been glad to help launch young lawyers to serve the public interest. 

Appellate Review of VA Error

We achieved a victory from the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims for a veteran of the United States Navy from the Persian Gulf War. Because of our advocacy, the Court of Appeals vacated a decision of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA) barring our client’s appeal as untimely, and remanding the case for further proceedings. When our client’s initial claim was denied, he had failed to file a timely appeal to the BVA for a variety of reasons including irregularities in the VA’s transmission of notice papers and bad advice from his local veterans service organization regarding the deadlines for his appeal.

Disability Compensation Secured for Veteran

We secured a substantial increase in disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs for a veteran of the United States Navy. The veteran developed Parkinson’s Disease, which the VA acknowledged was due to conditions he encountered during his active duty during the Vietnam Conflict. After his symptoms worsened, Covington took on this representation which resulted in the VA’s decision to nearly double our client’s monthly disability compensation.

Benefits for Injured Combat Veterans

Covington has helped dozens of Iraq and Afghanistan war combat veterans in seeking Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) benefits.

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