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Walking Point PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 06 October 2014 10:27

I’ve been walking point on an important issue that involves all veterans.  It is my position that veterans should not have representation that is not equal and is inadequate, or non-existent compared to other citizen claimants throughout the VA administrative process.  Since attorneys were not allowed a fee through the VA administrative process since the Civil War, I assisted veterans by accepting donations in order to support a pro bono program I started in 2000.  In addition, it was my policy that paying back expenses was an option for the veteran as well.   

In 2008 fees were allowed after a Notice of Disagreement (an appeal) on every claim was filed.  Veterans’ claims may be original, new, secondary, new and material, or worsening condition; ongoing with common etiology, Unemployability, Special Monthly Compensation, reduction and/or overpayment of benefits.  I assisted veterans with everything whether or not the claims would lead a veteran to decide to donate.

After the change in law allowing a fee after a Notice of Disagreement was filed, the VA decided it had the statutory and constitutional right to regulate donations/gifts   I did not feel the VA had the statutory and constitutional right to regulate donations/gifts before a Notice of Disagreement was filed.  I felt that the VA did in fact, exceed their statutory authority and in fact was unconstitutional especially when considering the fact that the regulation appeared to inherently create direct conflicts of interests between the attorney and the veteran he has a duty to zealously represent and also cause multiple ethical dilemmas between the attorney and a veteran. 

I found out in the summer of 2010 that the regulation had actually been passed in 2008.  I continued to practice under a pro bono agreement from start to finish until 2012 because I believed and still believe the regulation exceeds VA’s statutory authority and is unconstitutional; especially when considering the fact that the fee agreement permitted, a long with the barring of donations, created a conflict of interest and ethical dilemmas, and benefited state and veterans’ organization representatives and established attorneys; and at the same time, made it more difficult for new attorneys to be involved and threw the veteran under the bus with multiple claims.  The legislation did not solve the inadequate representation problem that the legislation was intended to solve in the first place.  The veteran was caught in the middle between the interests of traditional veterans’ representatives for free, and established attorneys.  Veterans received the short end of the legislative deal. 

Although I never received a complaint from a veteran, the only complaint I received was from another disgruntled attorney; I was decertified to practice VA law by the Office of General Counsel.  No good deed goes unpunished.  I assisted veterans with obtaining hundreds of millions of dollars in benefits.  Therefore, I am appealing all the way to the Supreme Court if I need to in order to fight for veterans’ rights.  If you want to know more about the problems veterans face visit www.vets4fullpresentation.com.   Vets for Full Representation is a 501 (c) (19) tax-exempt organization and is looking forward to receiving new members, financial assistance, or any other assistance it can receive from anyone that cares about veterans. 

Other David Huffman Law Services attorneys and David Huffman Law Services continue to practice VA law.  I did not require anyone to walk point with me.  As a Vietnam Veteran myself, I know how to walk point.

Last Updated on Monday, 06 October 2014 10:30