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NEW YORK FEDERAL APPEALS COURT RULES IN FAVOR OF INCOMPETENT VETERANS

NEW YORK FEDERAL APPEALS COURT RULES IN FAVOR OF INCOMPETENT VETERANS
 WASHINGTON, Feb. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has denied a motion by the government to stay a preliminary injunction restoring disability compensation for certain "mentally incompetent" veterans who are unable to handle their own financial affairs. In late January, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granted the injunction sought by the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) against the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) implementation of a law suspending the disability payments, and less than one week later denied the government's first appeal.
 "This means, in the absence of a final appeal by the government to the U.S. Supreme Court, that the affected class of incompetent veterans will, for the first time since April 1991, begin receiving their benefit checks from the VA," said DAV National Commander Cleveland Jordan. "Both federal courts soundly rejected the government arguments in their denials of the request for stay."
 The injunction is part of a class action brought by the DAV, a non-profit organization of more than 1 million disabled veterans, on behalf of some 38,000 mentally incompetent veterans nationwide who could be affected by the law. A provision of the 1990 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA), the law suspends compensation for incompetent veterans who have neither a spouse, dependent child or dependent parent, when their estates reach a value of $25,000. Under the provision, compensation would not be resumed until the veteran's estate is reduced to less than $10,000.
 "This law blatantly discriminates against the most vulnerable of disabled veterans," said Jordan.
 According to DAV National Legislative Director John F. Heilman, an expedited hearing on the appeal of the motion will occur sometime in March. "But in the interim, the government is under a court order to begin processing these checks for incompetent veterans.
 -0- 2/20/92
 /CONTACT: John F. Heilman or Robert A. Hincken of the Disabled American Veterans, 202-554-3501/ CO: Disabled American Veterans ST: District of Columbia IN: SU:


TW-MK -- DC007 -- 0826 02/20/92 10:01 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 20, 1992
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