That's very interesting.
You guys were faced with some very tough economic times five or six years ago. I was wondering if the level of benefits veterans receive was maintained through all those tough times. Were there cuts at all? How did the department manage through those tough economic times?
Mr. Thomas Murphy – USA VA:
The benefits for veterans throughout the economic challenge were untouched, unchanged. Our Congress and our executive branch of the government determined that they would not go after this, out of respect for the veterans. So we've been very fortunate in that regard.
Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS
When a veteran is having difficulty in the appeal process with your VA, and they go through the levels of appeal and eventually hit the judiciary, does the Government of the United States supply them with any legal assistance to assist them in their argument before the courts?
We do. If an attorney comes in and represents the individual and they advance the claim, if it changes the compensation the veteran is owing in any way, we'll step in and pay what we call EAJA fees. We pay the legal fees, too, through the attorney.
Depending on the circumstances, there are some where those fees are paid by the veteran. We withhold them from the veteran's compensation that they would be receiving from us. It's a combination, depending on the outcome of the case.
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The Canadian Veterans Advocacy Team.