Since 2014, our team at Bahrie Law has been working to recover Social Security disability benefits for a 33-year member of the National Guard. Our client’s case has finally made it to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), which has granted our Writ of Certiorari and will hear our argument in October of 2021.
This case will have national significance and help not only our client but also veterans across the country. Top legal professionals from Yale Law School, Harvard Law School, and Washington DC have already reached out to help.
Dual-Status Technicians Deserve Pensions
One word in federal law is keeping our client from the Social Security benefits he deserves. We believe the lower courts’ interpretation of the statute in question is wrong, and several leaders in the legal profession agree with us.
According to 42 U.S.C. § 415 (a)(7)(A), military veterans are entitled to “payment based wholly on service as a member of a uniformed service,” but the lower courts have argued that serving in the National Guard as a dual-service technician does not meet the requirement of “wholly.”
Nevertheless, members of the National Guard can participate in active-duty deployment, are required to serve in uniform, hold a rank, and maintain military fitness standards; and are subject to military supervision. Dual-status technicians are also critical to maintaining our national security. They should not be excluded from military pensions simply because their service has a civilian component.
For example, our client served for 33 years, including active-duty deployment to Iraq, where he received numerous decorations, including the Bronze Star, Army Achievement Medal, and Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal. Despite this service, our client’s membership in the National Guard has somehow exempted him from Social Security disability benefits designated for U.S. Veterans.
Preparing to Take ‘No’ for an Answer
Historically, the courts have relied on the word “wholly” to apply to service rather than payments. We disagree with this interpretation, which has been questioned since Petersen v Astrue in 2011. When we prepared to challenge the lower courts and fight for our client’s rights, we were ready to hear ‘no,’ every step of the way. We lost our case during our initial hearing, appeals, in Federal District Court, and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, but we were ready to do so. We maintain that the existing interpretation of the law is wrong, and we are pleased that SCOTUS has agreed to hear our case.
We have already partnered with Neil Katyal and Kirti Datla of Hogan Lovell in Washington DC to help with the next phase of our client’s case, as well as improving the law for U.S. Veterans.
Please know that we are already fighting for your rights and look forward to hearing the specifics of your case during a free, no-obligation consultation.