Webcast

Guiding Your Clients Through the Veterans Disability Benefits System

Streams live on Tuesday, November 12, 2019 at 11:30am EST

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Course Information

Time 60 Minutes
Difficulty Beginner

Course Description

This program, taught by Blair Thompson, a professor at Hofstra’s Veteran’s Law Clinic, is designed to provide a general overview of veterans’ disability benefits law before the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). It will review the procedures for appealing a VA disability denial, which will briefly include a discussion of the “legacy” process for claims submitted prior to February 19, 2019, as well as the new procedures implemented under the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act. It will also cover the evidence veterans advocates need to provide in order to obtain disability benefits for their clients, and the legal standards the VA uses to evaluate the evidence. Finally, the program will address best practices for an attorney representing veterans before VA.


Learning Objectives:

  1. Review the structure of the VA, and where disability adjudication takes place within that structure
  2. Appeal an initial denial of a VA disability decision
  3. Identify the new “lanes” under the Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act
  4. Introduce the concept of service connection
  5. Utilize the different kinds of evidence needed to prove the different elements of service connection
  6. Assess the VA’s role in assisting the veteran in substantiating his or her claims
  7. Discuss how to become certified by the VA to represent veterans in their disability appeals

Credit Information

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Faculty

Professor Thompson joined the Robert W. Entenmann Veterans Law Clinic in January 2019.  Previously, Professor Thompson taught law students and represented veterans in matters before various tribunals such as the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and the Department of Veterans Affairs as a Clinical Teaching Fellow in the Bob Parsons Veterans Advocacy Clinic at the University of Baltimore School of Law.

Thompson previously served as an attorney with the Board of Veterans Appeals in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C.  She also served as an attorney in the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review at the U.S. Social Security Administration, as well as an Assistant Public Defender in Baltimore City at the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, where she represented clients in trials before the District and Circuit Courts.  Additionally, Thompson served as a judicial law clerk for a Maryland Circuit Court Judge in the Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center. 

Thompson completed the Great Books program and received her B.A. at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland.  She attended the Drexel University School of Law in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she was a Lead Editor of the Drexel Law Review.  Thompson graduated with honors and received the Clinical Legal Education Association’s Outstanding Clinical Student Award. 

Prior to law school, Thompson taught students in Hong Kong and in the Philippi township of Cape Town, South Africa with the South African Education and Environment Project (SAEP (SA)).  She currently serves as a member of SAEP (USA)’s Board of Directors.