WASHINGTON – The National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) today announced the release of the 2019-2020 edition of its Veterans Benefits Manual.

“We are delighted to offer an entirely new addition of the Veterans Benefits Manual to help all those who advocate on behalf of veterans more easily navigate the evolving law and regulations governing the benefits to which our veterans are entitled,” said NVLSP Executive Director Bart Stichman.

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The Veterans Benefits Manual is a critical guide for advocates who assist veterans and their families obtain benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The 2,200-page Manual is updated annually and contains essential insight and analysis from practicing lawyers at NVLSP, a team of experts on the front line of veterans law. The Manual is designed as a stand-alone product, so there is no need to reference earlier editions.

The 2019-2020 edition of the Veterans Benefits Manual has been thoroughly updated with the important developments in veterans law over the past year. Highlights of these updates include:

  • A detailed description and analysis of the Veterans Appeals Modernization and Improvement Act (the AMA) and extensive advocacy advice on how to effectively navigate the new system created by the AMA;
  • An easy to understand chart summarizing the important changes made by the AMA to the VA claims and appeals system;
  • Foolproof guidance on how to tell whether a pending VA claim is subject to the new modernized system or the legacy system;
  • A discussion of the important documents an advocate will encounter in the modernized system;
  • How to avoid the hidden traps set by the VA in the modernized system on claims for an increased disability rating;
  • The pros and cons of each of the three options a claimant has after a denial of a claim by a VA regional office after February 18, 2019;
  • How to use the fact that VA’s duty to assist does not apply at the BVA level to your advantage;
  • A new section explaining the important October 2018 changes to the VA rules governing pension claims, including the look-back and penalty period for transferring assets and calculating net worth;
  • Expanded advice on how to take advantage of the Federal Circuit ruling involving undiagnosed conditions that manifest as pain and other symptoms;
  • A new section on proving entitlement to prospective and retroactive disability benefits for Vietnam Veterans who served in the waters off the coast of Vietnam;
  • A new section focused on service connection for diseases associated with exposure to asbestos;
  • An expanded discussion of service connection for diseases resulting from exposure to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan;
  • Updated information on discharge upgrade applications involving PTSD and other mental health conditions, Traumatic Brain Injury, and military sexual trauma;
  • An explanation of changes to the rules about when an attorney may obtain fees for representing a claimant before the VA;
  • A detailed discussion of and advice regarding developments in the law related to Gulf War Illness; and
  • A discussion of significant new case law related to claims for total disability ratings based on individual unemployability.

The Manual was updated by NVLSP editors: Co-Founder and Executive Director Barton F. Stichman, former Joint Executive Director Ronald B. Abrams, and Director of Training and Publications Richard V. Spataro.

To order your printed copy or eBook version of the 2019-2020 edition, go to Veterans Benefits Manual






About NVLSP
The National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) is an independent, nonprofit veterans service organization that has served active-duty military personnel and veterans since 1981. NVLSP strives to ensure that our nation honors its commitment to its 22 million veterans and active-duty personnel by ensuring they have the benefits they have earned through their service to our country.

NVLSP has represented veterans in lawsuits that compelled enforcement of the law where the VA or other military services denied benefits to veterans in violation of the law.

NVLSP’s success in these lawsuits has resulted in more than $5.2 billion dollars being awarded in disability, death and medical benefits to hundreds of thousands of veterans and their survivors. NVLSP offers training for attorneys and other advocates; connects veterans and active-duty personnel with pro bono legal help when seeking disability benefits; publishes the nation’s definitive guide on veteran benefits; and represents and litigates for veterans and their families before the VA, military discharge review agencies and federal courts. For more information go to www.nvlsp.org.

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