- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 21, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court has made it harder for veterans to challenge the denial of medical claims by the Veterans Affairs Department.

The high court, in a 6-3 decision on Tuesday, said veterans who contend the VA failed to tell them what information was needed to justify their claims must prove that the VA’s mistakes made a difference in the outcome of their cases.

A federal appeals court in Washington earlier ruled that the burden was on the VA to prove the errors were not harmful to the veterans.

The case involved two veterans who said their injuries were related to their military service.

Woodrow Sanders, a World War II Army veteran, said a bazooka explosion in 1944 damaged the vision in his right eye. Decades later, he went to a VA hospital seeking seeking cost-free treatment. A VA board denied his claim, saying it could not be proven now that the injury was service related.

Patricia Simmons said she suffered hearing loss when she was on active duty from 1978 to 1980.

The case is Shinseki v. Sanders, 07-1209.

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