Snyder v. McDonough


Question(s) Presented

“Section 3.318 of 38 C.F.R. provides veterans with 90 days of active, continuous service with presumptive service connection for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, thereby entitling a veteran who develops ALS to disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (Department or VA). 38 C.F.R. § 3.318. The presumption is not based on Congressional action, but rather is entirely a ‘regulatory creation.’ Appendix (App.) A at 3.”

“Petitioner Joseph J. Snyder, Sr., a U.S. Army veteran with 47 days of continuous, active service – who, because of an in-service injury, was unable to continue to serve – sought entitlement to VA disability benefits based on presumptive service connection for ALS. Since 2015, the VA has consistently denied him the benefit of the ALS presumption, leading Mr. Snyder, with representation by Paralyzed Veterans of America, to challenge these denials. Id. At both of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and the Federal Circuit, Mr. Snyder argued that the Department did not have the statutory authority to include a 90-day service requirement in the presumption of service connection and that the 90-day service requirement was arbitrary and capricious, as the rulemaking record did not support any specific length of service requirement. Id. at 2, 8. Both lower courts disagreed with Mr. Snyder’s analysis. Id. at 8, App. B at 1. Thus, the questions presented for review by this Court are:”

  1. “Whether the Secretary of Veteran Affairs’ imposition of a length of service requirement for the presumption of service connection for ALS is counter to this Court’s holdings in Motor Vehicles Mfrs. Ass’n v. State Farm Auto. Ins. Co., 463 U.S. 29 (1983) and its progeny, which require ‘reasoned rulemaking,’ showing a rational connection between the facts found and the choices made?”
  2. “Whether the Secretary’s insertion of a condition precedent related to length of service into an evidentiary presumption violated the Veterans Benefits Act of 1957, which revoked the VA’s authority to define who is – and who is not – a veteran for disability benefits based on this specific precondition?”
  3. “Whether the Federal Circuit’s decision declaring the extensive breadth of the Secretary’s general rulemaking authority opens the door for the VA to impose upon veterans other requirements that Congress has not authorized for the receipt of benefits?”


Posts About this Case

Proceedings and Orders
December 8, 2021
Motion to extend the time to file a response is granted and the time is extended to and including January 19, 2022.
January 18, 2022
Motion to extend the time to file a response is granted and the time is further extended to and including February 18, 2022.
March 3, 2022
DISTRIBUTED for Conference of 3/18/2022.
March 21, 2022
Petition DENIED.