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We recently learned of this exchange in oral arguments before the United States Supreme Court earlier this week, in a case styled Astrue v. Ratliff, an attorney fee case under the Equal Access to Justice Act.

In oral arguments, the government attorney conceded that in at least 50-60% of the claims in which the U.S. Government litigates with Veterans, the government position is not substantially justified.

The speakers in the excerpt below are U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Roberts and U.S. Solicitor General Anthony Yang.  The Solicitor General is, generally speaking, the government’s attorney and advocate before the United States Supreme Court.

When Assistant to the Solicitor General Anthony Yang got up for his rebuttal in the case, Roberts interrupted him and the exchange went like this:

ROBERTS: Counsel do you — do you dispute your friend’s statement that 42 percent of the time in Social Security cases the government’s position is unjustified, and 70 percent of the time in veterans’ cases?

YANG: Well, I think that reflects the stakes often, Your Honor. Oftentimes the government does not contest, for instance, the $2,000 EAJA award and because it’s the government, has to —

ROBERTS: So whenever it really makes a difference, 70 percent of the time the government’s position is substantially unjustified?

YANG: In cases in the VA context, the number’s not quite that large, but is a substantial number of cases at the court of appeals —

ROBERTS: What number would you accept?

YANG: It was, I believe in the order of either 50 or maybe slightly more than 50 percent. It might be 60. But the number is substantial that you get a reversal, and in almost all of those cases EAJA —

ROBERTS: Well that’s really startling, isn’t it? In litigating with veterans, the government more often than not takes a position that is substantially unjustified?

YANG: It is an unfortunate number, Your Honor. And it is — it’s accurate.

Here is a link to the full article on

So, the government admits that in 50-60% of the claims for disability benefits by U.S. Veterans, it takes a legal position that is not substantially justified in the law.  One day, we hope they can admit how many of their legal positions in Federal Employee employment discrimination cases and MSPB Appeals are not substantially justified in the law.

No post on this website is meant to be legal advice and the posts on this website do not serve as a substitute for legal advice. Information is power, and we are providing this information to give you, the Veteran, some power. This information is not widely or easily accessible to Veterans.  The information presented on this website is a general description of law and processes; each case is different, and there may be approaches listed here that are not accurate or applicable to your case. Likewise, their may be information that is applicable to your case that is not provided on this Veterans Disability Compensation Blog.


It is very important that we note that each and every Veteran’s claim is different. Just because we were able to secure substantial past-due benefits for one Veteran does not mean or imply that we will be able to do so for you.   In some cases, we may not be able to secure you any financial compensation due to the facts of your particular case.

It is best to consult with a lawyer familiar with VA Disability claims and benefits or a Veterans Service Organization to examine your particular case.  If you would like to discuss your VA claim with a lawyer who handles VA Benefits and Disability Appealscontact the Attig Law Firm, PLLC, for a free consultation with a VA Benefits attorney.

The Attig Law Firm, PLLC, represents Veterans in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma (and all around the nation) in their claims for disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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