8:55 Welcome and Introductions
9:00 Moving Beyond Agency Review
Tod Michael Leaven, Grimes Teich Anderson LLP, Asheville
You have appealed all the way to the Board of Veterans Appeals but have been denied. One potential next step is the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. This is the first opportunity for an independent federal court review of the agency decision and to correct errors made by the Board of Veterans Appeals. Learn the details of this process and how to argue effectively at this appeal level.
10:10 Compensation and Pension Exams
Matthew Ian Wilcut, Sutton Snipes, Greensboro
Compensation and Pension Exams are the crux of many claims for VA benefits. Knowing when a veteran is entitled to one and spotting errors and issues in examinations provided to veterans are essential parts of advocacy in this practice area.
11:20 Proposals to Reduce
Andrea Helene Smaxwell, The Deuterman Law Group, Greensboro
The VA giveth and the VA taketh away. Find out what leads the VA to propose a reduction and what protections, rights and options a veteran has when the VA has proposed to reduce their rating on a service-connected disability.
12:20 Lunch Break
1:20 Death and Indemnity Compensation and Substitution
Christopher John Stevens, The Deuterman Law Group, Winston-Salem
When a veteran passes away, a surviving spouse, dependent child or dependent parent may be entitled to Death and Indemnity Compensation (DIC). Likewise, if a veteran passes away and still has a pending appeal, a surviving spouse, dependent child or dependent parent may step in as a substitute and continue a claim on behalf of the veteran. In this session, attendees find out the process and rules surrounding these claims.
2:30 Current Issues in Discharge Upgrades
John Wesley Brooker, UNC School of Law, Chapel Hill
Other-than-honorable discharges can be a bar to future VA benefits for veterans. Learn about the current legal landscape and challenges in the field of discharge upgrades to help advocate for veterans seeking to upgrade their discharge classification.
3:40 Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
Michael S. Archer, Marine Corps Installations East, Jacksonville
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act is a federal law that provides a wide range of legal and financial protections to active-duty service members and their families. Review these protections and discuss common issues to which this law applies.
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