Failing to Disclose VA Disability Benefits On Your FAA Medical Application

  • ON Sep 07, 2018
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  • BY Anthony Ison
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  • IN Pilot Law

Failing to disclose VA disability benefits on your FAA medical application could potentially be a big problem for you and your airman certificate. The sanction for providing an incorrect answer or providing an intentionally false answer to 18y. on  FAA Form 8500-9 (the FAA airman medical application) with respect to your VA disability benefits is revocation of all airman certificates. The sanction of revocation of all airman certificates means that the FAA will revoke an airman’s medical certificate, pilot certificates and type ratings, and any other certificates held by the airman (i.e. A&P certificate). A revocation typically allows for reapplication in a 12-month period (meaning that the airman must reapply as a student pilot 12-months after the date of revocation). However, a recent trend for failing to disclose VA disability benefits on your FAA medical application includes criminal referral and indictment for violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001. This was the unfortunate case recently for four airmen in the San Francisco Bay area, who were indicted for failing to disclose that they were receiving VA disability benefits on their FAA medical applications.

If you’ve found yourself in the position of having failed to disclose your receipt of VA disability benefits on your FAA medical application, you may be able to remediate the concern for intentional falsification and/or criminal prosecution if you take action immediately. Typically, but not in all cases, the FAA has a policy of amnesty if an airman discloses an omission before it is discovered by the FAA or an investigation is started by the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General or Veteran’s Affairs Office of Inspector General. In each case where an airman has failed to disclose receiving VA benefits on their medical application, however, it is imperative that disclosure is done promptly, but in a calculated manner. Disclosure may elicit reexamination from the FAA’s Office of Aerospace Medicine with respect to an airman’s eligibility to hold an airman medical certificate. As such, it is important that if you’ve omitted your receipt of VA disability benefits on your FAA medical application(s), that you consult a FAA aviation attorney as soon as possible.

Call your FAA defense attorney at The Ison Law Firm today to discuss your options for remediating failure to disclose receipt of VA disability benefits on a FAA medical application. There may be a relatively simple solution to an otherwise daunting result. The Pilot Lawyer at The Ison Law Firm is standing by to vector you through legal turbulence!

*Please note that airmen who have been indicted have not been found guilty of the alleged crime(s).

Resolving a TSA Preliminary Determination of Ineligibility

  • ON Aug 09, 2018
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  • BY Anthony Ison
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  • IN Pilot Law

Are you a transportation worker who needs help resolving a TSA Preliminary Determination of Ineligibility? As an employee or potential employee who might need access to secure areas of the nation’s maritime facilities and vessels, the TSA will require you to have a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (“TWIC”). When applying for a TWIC, the TSA will conduct a background check to determine if you pose a security risk. As a TWIC applicant, you could be determined ineligible due to having a disqualifying criminal offense on your record. If the TSA determines that you have a disqualifying criminal offense on your record, the TSA will send you a Preliminary Determination of Ineligibility letter. This letter will identify the TSA’s rationale for determining your ineligibility for credentialing.

Resolving a  Preliminary Determination of Ineligibility requires timely attention and should be reviewed by your TSA attorney immediately.  Within 60-days of the date on the Preliminary Determination of Ineligibility letter, you or your attorney must provide a response to the TSA. If you need more time than the 60-days, you may be able to request an extension. Nevertheless, within the 60-days, you and your attorney should determine if your case is eligible for either an appeal or a waiver (or both).

Resolving a Preliminary Determination of Ineligibility through an appeal requires the applicant to prove that the TSA erroneously determined your ineligibility. An erroneous determination of ineligibility occurs when 1) you were not convicted of the offense(s) listed in the letter from TSA because the charge(s) was dismissed, nolle prossed, or you were found not guilty; or (2) you were convicted of a misdemeanor(s) only; or (3) you were convicted of simple drug possession; or  (4) the charge is an interim disqualifying felony as listed on the TSA website and the conviction date is over 7 years ago and you were released from incarceration over 5 years ago.

Resolving a Preliminary Determination of Ineligibility through a waiver requires you to prove that despite having been convicted of an interim disqualifying felony within the past 7 years or your having been released from incarceration within the past 5 years, or you were convicted of a permanently disqualifying felony at any time, the you do not pose a terror risk. Fortunately, most waivers will be granted by the TSA, so you and your attorney should carefully consider this option.

If you have any questions about resolving a Preliminary Determination of Ineligibility through appeal or waiver, call your TSA attorney at The Ison Law Firm. The TSA attorney is standing by to help and answer any questions you may have.

  

FAA Enforcement Attorney

  • ON May 07, 2018
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  • BY Anthony Ison
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  • IN Pilot Law

If you depend on your airman or airman medical certificate for your career, you should retain a FAA enforcement attorney from the first sign of trouble with the FAA. If a FAA enforcement attorney is involved with an airman’s defense during the early stages of a FAA investigation, an airman may be better poised to defend his or her position before the NTSB during a FAA emergency revocation or suspension. In that, by starting with a FAA enforcement attorney early (as soon as the airman knows of a potential violation or upon receipt of a FAA letter of investigation), an airman may be able to mitigate damaging evidence becoming a part of the FAA’s Enforcement Investigative Report (“EIR”).

One of the more common problems that occurs, especially when an airman is being investigated for “intentional falsification” of an airman medical certificate, is when an airman provides a response to a FAA letter of investigation without advice from a FAA enforcement attorney. Unfortunately, most airmen believe they have nothing to hide and that by responding to the FAA’s letter of investigation, the airman is inviting compassion and understanding from the FAA. Despite what appears to be a common-sense response to an unnerving situation, the FAA is not as “kind and gentle” as an airman would want to think. Nevertheless, what an airman needs to know is that providing a response that is not calculated and well-prepared could offer the FAA attorney the exact evidence he or she needs to prove “intention falsification” or otherwise, as everything an airman provides in response to a letter of investigation will be used against him or her.

A FAA enforcement attorney can provide insight to NTSB precedent and the facts prior to an airman providing a response to a FAA letter of investigation. Doing so could very well mean the difference between an airman being successful with a defense before the NTSB and not.

If you’ve received a letter of investigation from the FAA, it’s time to get a FAA enforcement attorney on your case. Your FAA enforcement attorney at The Ison Law Firm is standing by to vector you through legal turbulence. Call 1-855-FAA-1215 today!

The FAA is Requesting Additional Medical Information

  • ON Mar 13, 2018
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  • BY Anthony Ison
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  • IN Pilot Law

If the FAA is requesting additional medical information after you are issued an airman medical certificate or after your application is deferred by an AME, beware! In that, if your medical application is deferred to the FAA or if you indicated “yes” for the first time on one of the many indicators on form 8500, the FAA will likely be sending you a letter that indicates: “a review of your application and report of FAA medical examination reveals the need for additional information regarding your indicated history of [alleged illness].” The letter will go on to allow you 60-days from the date of the letter, in order to provide a litany of requested documentation (including medical records, updated physician reports, personal statements, and in the event of substance-related offenses, there will be a request for arrest records, court records, and a driving record). In the event you do not provide the requested documents, the FAA has the authority to deny your application for “failure to provide.”

It’s important to know that when the FAA is requesting additional medical information, that any information which is provided can and will be used against you. Usually these letters include a copy of the Pilot’s Bill of Rights (akin to your Miranda rights), which outlines the protections you have as an airman in providing a response to the FAA. Nevertheless, the key is that before you provide anything to the FAA, you should make every attempt to confirm that the documents and statements you are providing presents a “winning” case to the FAA. What does this mean? This means that before you provide documents to the FAA that you know will or could result in a denial, you should review your documents with an aviation attorney and appropriate medical professionals to develop (as appropriate) a docket that proves to the FAA that you are qualified for a medical certificate. Remember, the FAA has no motivation to issue you a medical certificate if you are a “borderline” case or worse. Thus, a thoroughly presented docket of materials is key to making your case with the FAA.

If the FAA is requesting additional medical information, you are being presented with an opportunity to prove your case to the FAA medical certification office. Ultimately, it is critical that an airman presented with such an opportunity consult with a FAA medical attorney and qualified medical staff who can review your records and determine your application’s strengths and weaknesses. If the FAA is requesting additional medical information from you, call The Pilot Lawyer at The Ison Law Firm who can provide this analysis and other guidance for the application process.

*The Ison Law Firm does not provide medical advice.

Medical Application Deferred to the FAA

  • ON Mar 09, 2018
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  • BY Anthony Ison
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  • IN Pilot Law

Have you had your medical application deferred to the FAA? What does it even mean when your medical application is deferred to the FAA? Typically, when a medical application is deferred to the FAA in Oklahoma City or to the Regional Flight Surgeon, it’s because the airman has or had a medical condition, symptoms of a medical condition, takes a disqualifying medication, or has had an alcohol or drug related arrest or conviction which the examining AME feels warrants a closer look by the FAA physicians. Largely, AMEs are required to defer certain types of medical applications to the FAA by policy. An example of this is when an airman indicates on his or her medical application that he or she has been arrested for an alcohol related event occurring less than 5-years ago. In this case, the AME is required to submit information to the FAA regarding the details of the alcohol event in question – which the doctors at the FAA utilize to determine the airman’s risk for having “substance dependence” or “substance abuse.” Sometimes, AMEs defer medical applications to the FAA because they are just unsure whether the airman is fit to fly. Almost always, however, when a medical application is deferred to the FAA, it means that the AME believes the airman’s qualification for medical certification is questionable and that he or she doesn’t have the authority to issue a certificate; thus, the application is deferred to the FAA to make a decision.

What practical concerns are there when a medical application is deferred to the FAA? When a medical application is deferred to the FAA, you as the airman can expect to receive a letter from the FAA requesting additional medical documentation about the underlying condition (or incident) and/or additional testing and evaluation to be conducted and submitted to the FAA (always at the airman’s expense). Unfortunately, a lot of airmen get caught up in the FAA’s system at this point if proper steps are not followed. In that, submitting incomplete medical records and/or records which do not demonstrate a resolved medical issue will either lead the airman to a denied medical application or otherwise keep the airman in the FAA’s queue for months on end. The takeaway is this: when your medical application is deferred to the FAA, make sure you submit documents that demonstrate your eligibility for a medical certificate or risk significant delay from the FAA and/or denial of your medical application.

What can an aviation attorney do to help you when your medical application is deferred to the FAA? Fortunately, an aviation attorney can review your medical records prior to your even going to the AME to determine what types of issues your records may present within the context of FAA policy. After completing that review, an aviation attorney will then coordinate with you (the pilot), your personal physicians, and the AME in order to triage issues and develop a plan of action. Sometimes the next step will be to refer you to appropriate medical specialists to obtain evaluations from an aeromedical prospective. Ultimately, your aviation attorney should coordinate all efforts to demonstrate to the FAA (the first time) that you qualify for a medical certificate or special issuance medical certificate. Once the “package” is sent to the FAA, your aviation attorney will work closely with the FAA to ensure that there are no unnecessary delays in the certificate or deferment process.

If your medical application has been deferred to the FAA or if you are concerned your medical application might be deferred to the FAA, call your aviation attorney at The Ison Law Firm to discuss your options. The Pilot Lawyer is standing by to vector you through legal turbulence.

*The Ison Law Firm does not provide medical advice.