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Equal Acess To Justice Act


Guest fla_viking

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Guest fla_viking

Dear Fellow Veterans & friends

ONe of the advertizements I got from attys who want to represent me at the CVC level. Statee they dont charge vets any atty fees. There is a special fund set aside under the equal acess to justice act that pays for everything.

Has any one used this?

Terry Higgins

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Yes, my husband is represented by counsel for a pending Court hearing. The attorney will be paid through this program.

This is from www.vetsprobono.org

Q. What is the Equal Access to Justice Act?

A.. The Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) is a federal law that permits an appellant, in certain instances, to ask the government to pay his or her attorney’s fees and expenses. An EAJA award does not reduce or otherwise affect any money that you might get ultimately from VA. Your case may qualify under EAJA, depending on the result in your case and the reason why the case was resolved in a particular fashion. You can only apply for EAJA fees if you are represented by an attorney. If it appears that your case qualifies under EAJA, your attorney will submit the EAJA claim to the Court and to VA.

If your attorney submits an EAJA claim and it meets the requirements of the law, the check issued by VA will usually be made payable to both the attorney and you. However, the check represents payment to the attorney for work that he or she did for you on your appeal; it is not part of your VA benefits and it is not intended to be compensation for you. For this reason, the retainer agreement that you signed with your attorney at the beginning of your case may contain a power of attorney that permits your attorney to negotiate (“cash”) the EAJA check.

An EAJA award will most likely be approved and paid before you receive your claimed benefits from VA. This is because EAJA is paid by VA for work that your attorney did at the Court and the amount can be established fairly quickly. Your claim for your VA benefits, however, has to be returned to VA for VA to decide whether any benefits can be paid (and, if so, in what amount).

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How does one go about finding out more about this legal service? Is there a website?

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An attorney representing you before the Court of Veterans Appeals would have to be willing to submit an application under EAJA. Not all of them are, but it's up to them. And up to you if you want to do business with any of them who aren't willing. We received many letters from attorneys positioned on both sides of that question.

I think the criteria is whether they feel you have a decent shot at having the Court remand back to the Board all or part of your claims. If you win a decision against the federal government, EAJA applies (that's my understanding. You "win" if the Court issues a remand).

That's our experience so far, anyway. Google "Equal Access to Justice Act" and you'll find out more.

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