Battling the Backlog: Hearing Before the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, United States Senate, One Hundred Ninth Congress

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Page 68 - The ratings shall be based, as far as practicable, upon the average impairments of earning capacity resulting from such injuries in civil occupations...
Page 83 - Under our adversary system the role of counsel is not to make sure the truth is ascertained but to advance his client's cause by any ethical means. Within the limits of professional propriety, causing delay and sowing confusion not only are his right but may be his duty. The appearance of counsel for the citizen is likely to lead the government to provide one — or at least to cause the government's representative to act like one. The result may be to turn what might have been a short conference...
Page 82 - ... positions and to contest with vigor all adverse evidence and views. The role of the hearing body itself, . . . may become more akin to that of a judge at a trial, and less attuned to the rehabilitative needs of the individual probationer or parolee. In the greater self-consciousness of its quasi-judicial role, the hearing body may be less tolerant of marginal deviant behavior and feel more pressure to reincarcerate rather than to continue nonpunitive rehabilitation.
Page 82 - The introduction of counsel into a revocation proceeding will alter significantly the nature of the proceeding. If counsel is provided for the probationer or parolee, the State in turn will normally provide its own counsel; lawyers, by training and disposition, are advocates and bound by professional duty to present all available evidence and arguments in support of their clients' positions and to contest with vigor all adverse evidence and views. The role of the hearing body itself, aptly described...
Page 82 - There can be little doubt that invalidation of the fee limitation would seriously frustrate the oft-repeated congressional purpose for enacting it. Attorneys would be freely employable by claimants to veterans' benefits, and the claimant would as a result end up paying part of the award, or its equivalent, to an attorney. But this would not be the only consequence of striking down the fee limitation that would be deleterious to the congressional plan. A necessary concomitant of Congress...
Page 83 - Thus, even apart from the frustration of Congress' principal goal of wanting the veteran to get the entirety of the award, the destruction of the fee limitation would bid fair to complicate a proceeding which Congress wished to keep as simple as possible. It is scarcely open to doubt that if claimants were permitted to retain compensated attorneys the day might come when it could be said that an attorney might indeed be necessary to present a claim properly in a system rendered more adversary and...
Page 83 - ... continue nonpunitive rehabilitation. Certainly, the decisionmaking process will be prolonged, and the financial cost to the State — for appointed counsel, counsel for the State, a longer record, and the possibility of judicial review — will not be insubstantial.
Page 35 - VSR, also called a rating specialist, evaluates the claim and determines whether the claimant is eligible for benefits. If the veteran is eligible for disability compensation, the rating specialist assigns a percentage rating based on degree of disability. Veterans with multiple service-connected disabilities receive a single composite rating. For veterans claiming pension eligibility, the regional office determines if the veteran served in a period of war, is permanently and totally disabled for...
Page 76 - This is not, however, to be interpreted as an erratic deviation from the underlying principle of compensation law— that benefits relate to loss of earning capacity and not to physical injury as such. The basic theory remains the same; the only difference is that the effect on earning capacity is a conclusively presumed one, instead of a specifically proved one based on the individual's actual wage-loss experience. Larson 58.11 at 10-323-324 (footnotes omitted).
Page 67 - Generally, reexaminations will be required if it is likely that a disability has improved, or if evidence indicates there has been a material change in a disability or that the current rating may be incorrect. Individuals for whom reexaminations have been authorized and scheduled are required to report for such reexaminations.

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