NEW YORK – In a long-running pro bono case on behalf of a former U.S. Air Force aircraft mechanic suffering severe service-connected anxiety disorder, a team of attorneys from Loeb & Loeb LLP successfully assisted the client in raising his disability rating from 10 percent to 70 percent, securing a significant increase in benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Loeb & Loeb’s client served on the flight line of an air force base in the early 1980s where he was exposed to toxic chemicals and industrial solvents, which later induced debilitating asthma and anxiety. Years later, the condition was diagnosed as service-connected and the veteran began receiving $127 per month in VA disability compensation. As his condition worsened, affecting his speech, reasoning, and ability to work, the veteran made multiple attempts to get the VA to increase his benefits to the appropriate level. Each of his self-represented claims was denied.
Loeb & Loeb began working with the client nearly three years ago through the firm’s Veterans Assistance Project, which provides pro bono assistance to veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces in connection with service-connected disability benefits claims. Loeb & Loeb’s attorneys were successful in arranging for the client to be seen by a new doctor for his required Compensation and Pension Examination to evaluate his condition. The team also worked closely with the client’s psychologist to assemble the appropriate evidence and information, which ultimately led to the VA’s decision to raise the client’s disability rating and increase his monthly compensation for anxiety from $127 to $1,602.
“The VA claims system is not adversarial, but it is a complex legal process that can be very difficult to navigate without assistance,” said Loeb & Loeb associate Jon Hollis, who is the founding member of the firm’s Veterans Assistance Project team and a fellow veteran. “This is particularly true for individuals in the veteran population, many of whom suffer from serious health issues, as well as economic challenges. Free legal assistance goes a long way for veterans in need and we are proud to be able to provide that.”