Supreme Court of the United States
Arellano v. McDonough, Sec’y of Veteran’s Affairs—(J. Barrett).
A veteran tried to claim VA disability benefits dating back 30 years to the date of his discharge from the military due to PTSD from service on an aircraft carrier. The VA accepted his disability claim, but dated it back only 10 years earlier to the date that he filed his claim. The law held that the date of disability could be the date of discharge if it was filed within one year of that date. The veteran admitted that his claim came 20 years too late for that, but he argued that the deadline should be equitably tolled because he was too ill to understand he could file for benefits until 30 years later. A unanimous court held that the 1-year deadline could not be equitably tolled because Congress had the power to preclude equitable tolling by writing the law that way, and the law specifically provided that the deadlines were binding.
Terry P. Roberts
Director of Appellate Practice Fischer Redavid PLLC