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Some veterans could be eligible for more disability benefits thanks to court ruling

FILE - In this June 21, 2013, file photo, the seal affixed to the front of the Department of Veterans Affairs building in Washington. Congressional Republicans and Democrats have reached initial agreement on the biggest expansion of college aid for military veterans in a decade. It would remove a 15-year time limit to tap into benefits and boost money for thousands in the National Guard and Reserve.(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

Thousands of veterans who were denied disability claims by the Department of Veterans Affairs could have another chance.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overturned a 19-year precedent on April 3.

The precedent was that the Department of Veterans Affairs denied claims if pain veterans experienced was not tied to a specific medical condition, according to the National Veterans Legal Services Program.

The NVLSP represented Gulf War veteran Melba Saunders, who sought treatment for knee pain while serving in the Army, but had a claim denied years later because there was no medical diagnosis, according to the NVLSP.

"I think that it's a good thing any time the VA realizes that they've done something that they should fix," Ron Holmes, a veteran advocate, said.

Holmes helps El Paso-area veterans file their disability claims. He said he's noticed a higher amount of claim denials in recent years.

The NVLSP found that the precedent was used in 11,000 board decisions.

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