Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Bowers v. Shinseki
Bowers v. Shinseki, docket no. 10-3399 (Vet. App. Feb. 19, 2013) The presumption of service connection for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is available only to those who meet VA’s definition of “veteran” – and is, therefore, not available to those whose only period of active service was active duty for training, unless the claimant shows that he/she incurred the condition during that active duty for training. The veteran in this case sought service connection for ALS on a presumptive basis under 38 C.F.R. § 3.318. The veteran served in the National Guard from March 1972 to March 1978, with a continuous period of active duty for training that exceeded 90 days. VA denied the claim because it found that there was no evidence that he had a disease or injury that was incurred or aggravated during his period of active duty for training – and, therefore, that period of service did not qualify him for VA benefits. The CAVC affirmed.