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A lawsuit has been filed against the Department of Veterans Affairs by two advocacy groups representing almost 60,000 veterans. The lawsuit claims that the VA is taking up to four years to process disability claims, which is causing economic devastation, homelessness, the breakup of families, and even suicide.

The Vietnam Veterans of America and Veterans of Modern Warfare filed the suit Monday, November 10, 2008, asking that the VA be required to pay interim benefits on any claim that takes longer than 90 days to process or six months to appeal. At this time, there are over 600,000 claims pending; the VA takes between six months and one year to make a decision, and appeals can take up to four years, said Robert Cattanach, a partner at Dorsey & Whitney who represents the veterans.

VA spokesman Phil Budahn had no response to the lawsuit. The Government Accountability Office and two independent, bipartisan commissions have reviewed delays in VA disability claims processing in recent years.

Do our veterans not deserve better care? Is not justice delayed, justice denied? I hope that a workable solution can be found for this important issue; these types of delays are incredibly difficult for veterans and their families to endure. I and other members of my law firm have volunteered in conjunction with the University of Virginia School of Law in a pro bono project to help veterans whose claims have been denied. I encourage others, attorneys and non-attorneys, to volunteer whenever possible to help veterans in whatever way possible. Even the smallest kind acts can prove to be a great help.

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