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Arellano v. McDonough is brought by a veteran, Adolfo Arellano, who got health benefits in 2011, 30 years after his discharge, because his mental health issues prevented him from knowing he should have applied earlier. Arellano is arguing for “equitable tolling”, meaning that if he wins, the agency and courts would excuse the statute of limitations time period in his case. 

If Arellano wins, he’ll get to pursue benefits dating back to 1981. 

If the government (VA Secretary Denis McDonough in this case) wins, equitable tolling won’t be allowed under the statute for these types of cases so service members will have to file on time.