New Amendment Has Harsh Effect on Veterans

The House adopted a budget amendment 232-197 which imposes a seven month moratorium on all legal fees paid under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA). This is a law, passed during the Reagan years, which was designed to help people such as low-income veterans and social security recipients, to retain counsel in order to battle Washington with respect to their claims. Although the amendment was aimed at environmentalists, it clearly will have a negative effect on veterans who rely upon EAJA in order to hire attorneys to help them fight for their rights to disability compensation and medical care. Given the system, for a veteran to have any solid chance of success, retaining counsel is very important. Pursuant to an article posted by Veterans for Common Sense, one quarter of all cases in 2009 were dismissed on procedural grounds, but, of the remaining 3270, EAJA backed attorneys were decisive. As many as 2385 applications for fees were granted: that’s about 73 percent of all the cases. As a practical matter, EAJA fees are below market rate for attorneys, however, EAJA enables veterans to retain counsel and enables counsel to be available to assist them with their claims.