The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is making it easier for veterans to be awarded disability compensation claims when their injury occurred during a secret mission and therefore couldn’t prove how their injury was related to their service without violating national security. For the last year the VA has been operating a program in which they involved a liaison officer attached to U.S. Special Operations Command. The liaison officer will have access to classified files to verify disability claims under these circumstances.
Given the nature of the program, it has not received a lot of attention. The Pentagon and the VA established the liaison in December of 2009. The liaison is an army veteran with no connection to special operations units. The VA has made assurances the liaison possesses the proper security clearances to be able to look into the files at the level in which they will have to be examined.
Once a veteran makes a disability claim based on an injury sustained in, or as a result of, a clandestine mission, the VA turns that claim over to the liaison. The liaison will then verify or deny that the veteran was involved in the secret operation.
The liaison officer will forward to the VA a report absent any sensitive information to be used in their decision for the disability claim. There will not be any contact between the veteran and the liaison unless the liaison needs specific information.
The liaison officer works for the VA but has access to thousands of classified files. Secret information can be retrieved concerning missions run by governmental intelligence agencies to include the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). There is no reason veterans should have their claims denied because of lack of information about their secret military operations.
If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact LaVan & Neidenberg. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.