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VA Claims: Disabled Veterans Community|Hadit.com
Celebrating Americas Freedoms is a collection of stories describing the origin and history of America’s most beloved customs and national symbols.

Celebrating Americas Freedoms is a collection of stories describing the origin and history of America’s most beloved customs and national symbols.

The Origin of the VA Motto

Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address

As the nation braced for the Civil War’s final throes, thousands of spectators gathered on a muddy Pennsylvania Avenue near the U.S. Capitol to hear President Lincoln’s second inaugural address. It was March 4, 1865, a time of great uneasiness. The war would end in just over one month, and the president would be assassinated.

President Lincoln framed his speech on the moral and religious implications of the war, rhetorically questioning how a just God could unleash such a terrible war upon the nation. “If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses in the providence of God, … and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offenses came.”

With its deep philosophical insights, critics have hailed the speech as one of Lincoln’s best.

As the speech progressed, President Lincoln turned from the divisive bitterness at the war’s roots to the unifying task of reconciliation and reconstruction. The president delivered his prescription for the nation’s recovery in the speech’s final paragraph.

“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.” Abrham Lincoln

With the words, “To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan,” President Lincoln affirmed the government’s obligation to care for those injured during the war and to provide for the families of those who perished on the battlefield.

Today, a pair or metal plaques bearing those words flank the entrance to the Washington, D.C. headquarters of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). VA is the federal agency responsible for serving the needs of veterans by providing health care, disability compensation and rehabilitation, education assistance, home loans, burial in a national cemetery, and other benefits and services.

Lincoln’s immortal words became the VA motto in 1959, when the plaques were installed, and can be traced to Sumner G. Whittier, administrator of what was then called the Veterans Administration. A document on VA medical history prepared for the congressional Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and titled, “To care for him who shall have borne the battle,” details how the words became VA’s motto. “He (Whittier) worked no employee longer or harder than himself to make his personal credo the mission of the agency. What was that credo? Simply the words of Abraham Lincoln, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan. To indicate the mission of his agency’s employees, Mr. Whittier had plaques installed on either side of the main entrance.”

President Lincoln’s words have stood the test of time and stand today as a solemn reminder of the VA’s commitment to care for those injured in our nation’s defense and the families of those killed in its service.

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USCAVC No. 19-0517 Nailos V McDonough Appeal from BVA: Issue EED Aid and Attendance

USCAVC No. 19-0517 Nailos V McDonough Appeal from BVA: Issue EED Aid and Attendance

USCAVC No. 19-0517 Joan Nailos, Appellant, V. Denis McDonough On Appeal from BVA Argued June 17, 2021, Decided on August 10, 2021

Issue EED Aid and Attendance

The appellant, Joan Nailos, surviving spouse of the veteran, William F. Nailos, appeals through counsel (1) an October 22, 2018, Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) decision that denied an effective date prior to May 30, 2017, for the award of aid and attendance benefits. Record (R.) at 2-9. (2) This appeal is timely, and the Court has jurisdiction to review the Board’s decision pursuant to 38 U.S.C. §§ 7252(a) and 7266(a). This matter was referred to a panel of the Court to determine under what circumstances 38 C.F.R. § 3.402(c)(1) permits an effective date for the award of increased dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC) based on the need for aid and attendance earlier than the date of receipt of the claim for aid and attendance benefits. (3) For the following reasons, the Court concludes that § 3.402(c)(1) does not permit an effective date earlier than the date of the aid and attendance claim unless DIC is in effect for a period prior to the date of the DIC claim, i.e., there is a retroactive award of DIC. The Court will thus affirm the Board’s decision.

Board Decision

In the October 2018 decision on appeal, the Board first acknowledged that it had previously denied entitlement to an effective date prior to November 2009 for the award of DIC and that the Court had affirmed that decision. R. at 4. Turning to the issue of an effective date prior to May 2017 for the award of aid and attendance benefits, the Board acknowledged the appellant’s contention that she was entitled to a June 2015 effective date based on when she was injured and became disabled. Id. After explaining the rules governing the effective date for an award of aid and attendance benefits, the Board concluded that the exception found in § 3.402(c)(1) was inapplicable. R. at 5. The Board explained that “the [a]ppellant has been receiving DIC since November 2009; therefore, the provisions regarding retroactive aid and attendance based on an award of retroactive DIC are not applicable.” Id. Applying the general effective date rule, the Board found that the appellant had filed an intent to file a claim on May 30, 2017, and that “[t]he record does not contain any communication from the [a]ppellant that may be reasonably construed as a formal claim or an intent to file a claim for regular aid and attendance received by VA prior to this date.” R. at 6. The Board then determined that “[e]ven assuming she met the criteria for regular aid and attendance as early as June 2015, she did not submit a claim for benefits with VA at that time, and the date the claim was received by VA is the later of the two dates.” R. at 7. Accordingly, the Board concluded that there was “no basis for awarding an earlier effective date.” Id.

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