Saturday, December 18, 2010

Vietname Veterans of America vs. DoD: Personality Disorders Discharge Lawsuit

From Vietnam Veterans of America:
"Vietnam Veterans of America has filed a lawsuit responding to Department of Defense's wrongful discharge of nearly 26,000 veterans.
The Department of Defense (DoD) has violated the law by failing to release records showing that it has wrongfully discharged nearly 26,000 service members on the basis of so-called "Personality Disorder." This Personality Disorder designation has prevented disabled veterans from receiving the disability compensation and other benefits they have earned. Vietnam Veterans of America and its counsel, the Veterans Legal Services Clinic of the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization at Yale Law School, hope that the records they obtain through this lawsuit will convince Congress to mandate a systemic review of these discharges and compel DoD to repair the harm it has caused.
The complaint, press release and other documents are accessible at

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

ABA iso Director Military Pro Bono Project (Chicago)

  • Staff Attorney 
  •  Legal Services
  • Section Funded
  • Part-Time
Managing the ABA Military Pro Bono Project, a high-visiblity program connecting active duty servicemembers with pro bono counsel around the country. Position involves substantive legal work, close collaboration with legal assistance leadership of the five service branches and a dedicated military liaison officer, national outreach to lawyers and law firms to handle pro bono cases, and management of web-based intake and referral platform. Includes legal research, writing, speaking, provision of technical assistance, and grant development and/or fundraising.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Military Forbearance Option

According to the Fannie Mae website

If you’re facing a financial hardship due to a death or injury of a service member on active duty, you may be eligible for a special military forbearance option. Read below for more details and for additional assistance, you can also visit Army OneSource or Military OneSource.

A forbearance is an agreement between you and your mortgage company to temporarily suspend or reduce your monthly mortgage payments for a specific period (usually between 90-180 days) of time. This option lets you deal with your short-term financial problems by giving you time to get back on your feet and bring your mortgage current.
With a military forbearance, you may qualify for additional benefits such as a longer forbearance period—up to 6 months—and no adverse impact to your credit score (all credit reporting related to your mortgage loan will be suspended during the forbearance period). Additionally, a special hotline has been set up for additional guidance about this option and other mortgage assistance programs—877-MIL-4566.

Military Forbearance may be an option if:
  • You are ineligible or do not want to refinance
  • You are facing a financial hardship due to either an injury or loss of spouse in active duty
  • You are several months behind on your mortgage payments

What are the benefits?

  • Lower or temporarily suspend your monthly payment for up to 6 months—giving you time to improve your financial situation and get back on your feet
  • No adverse credit reporting (related to your mortgage loan) during the forbearance period
  • Stay in your home and avoid foreclosure

How does it work?

Forbearance reduces your monthly mortgage payment—or suspends it completely—during the forbearance period (usually between 90-180 days). If you qualify for forbearance, you and your mortgage company will sign an agreement that will outline the forbearance terms:
  • length of forbearance period,
  • reduced payment amount (if the payment is not suspended), and
  • the terms of repayment.
After the forbearance period has ended, you will need to repay the amount that was reduced or suspended. However, you usually have a few ways you can repay—moving the payments to the end of your mortgage, which will lengthen the term; making a one-time payment for the amount; or adding a specific amount to your payments each month until the entire amount is repaid (see Repayment Plan for more information).
If you are still struggling with your mortgage payments after the forbearance period is over, you may be able to qualify for a modification that would permanently change the terms of your mortgage.

Next steps

Step 1Gather your financial information—Make sure you have your basic financial and loan information on hand when you call your mortgage company. You’ll need:
  • your mortgage statements, including information on a second mortgage (if applicable)
  • your other monthly debt payments (e.g., car or student loans, credit card payments), and
  • your income details (paystubs and income tax returns).
Step 2Explain your current situation—Be ready to outline your current hardship and explain why you are having trouble making your mortgage payment and if this is a short-term or long-term problem. Your mortgage company will need to understand the reasons why you are having difficulty in order to find the right solution for you.
Step 3Contact the Fannie Mae Military Support Hotline—Call 877-MIL-4566 (877-645-4566) and tell them you are interested in a Military Forbearance.
Contact us today to see if you qualify for this option. If you need additional assistance, you can also visit Army OneSource or Military OneSource.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Military Interstate Children's Compact Commission

The Military Interstate Children's Compact Commission (MIC3) has a new website:

Military families move between postings on a regular basis, and while reassignments can often be a boon for career personnel, they can be difficult for the children of military families. The average military student faces transition challenges more than twice during high school and most military children will attend six to nine different school systems in their lives from kindergarten to 12th grade. The Compact therefore seeks to make transition easier for the children of military families so that they are afforded the same opportunities for educational success as other children and are not penalized or delayed in achieving their educational goals.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Deadline Extended: The National Guard Bureau Seeks Feedback on Families with Special Needs

In the mailbox:
"The National Guard Bureau (NGB) is actively working with the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and all Parent Service Organizations (Army, AF, Navy, and Marines) to add additional support services for Families with Special Needs (Exceptional Family Member Program-EFMP).  
NGB needs your feedback to determine the scope of the needs and the most important issues impacting these families. Survey feedback will directly affect proper allocation of resources to support EFMP Families. 
All Soldiers, Airmen, Family members of Servicemembers, and ARNG/ANG Family Program staff are encouraged to participate. 
The Guard Family Special Needs Survey assessment will only take about 2 minutes and will be available until September 30, 2010. To complete the survey, please click on the following link to the Joint Services Support (JSS) webpage: "

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sep 10/Seattle, WA - The History of Military Commissions in American Jurisprudence

 WSBA LAMP Section Quarterly Meeting and Mini-CLE — "The History of Military Commissions in American Jurisprudence"
Sponsor: WSBA Legal Assistance to Military Personnel (LAMP) Section ( ).
The LAMP Section announces its quarterly meeting, to be followed by a mini-CLE examining the history of military commissions in American jurisprudence, presented by Vice Admiral Bruce MacDonald, Judge Advocate Generals Corps, United States Navy Judge Advocate General.
When: Friday, September 10, 2010
Where: Ben Bridge Jeweler
2901 3rd Ave., 2nd Floor, Seattle
Approved for 1 general CLE credit
Cost:    Free to LAMP Section members
To join the LAMP Section, see
Please click on the following link to register for this timely seminar:  

Monday, August 23, 2010

TBI, PTSD & Employment Training

TBI, PTSD & Employment
An online training tool for employers, supervisors & hiring managers

About This Training
Due to advances in military medicine and protective equipment, increased numbers of Service Members are surviving the injuries they sustain on the battlefield. However, the changing combat landscape has caused a sharp increase in Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which are increasingly recognized as leading injuries of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Although their injuries may not be visible, returning Service Members experiencing psychological health or cognitive issues related to combat stress or a brain injury may face difficulties, especially with respect to employment.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is educating employers about TBI and PTSD, and working to dispel some of the myths associated with these common conditions. Not all TBIs and PTSD cases are the same, nor are most severe - and simple workplace supports can often help individuals with TBI and/or PTSD succeed in their jobs.

This online training resource is not designed to be a diagnostic tool or a substitution for professional/clinical advice. It is designed to educate and inform HR professionals, hiring managers and employers about TBI and PTSD, and how these injuries may impact employment, while illustrating that employment can play a vital role in the recovery of our wounded warriors. Basic clinical information about TBI and PTSD is offered in addition to scenario-based learning and links to tools and resources. We encourage you to use and share these resources to help ensure a successful employment environment - for employers, employees and co-workers who may be experiencing the impact of TBI and/or PTSD.

Please allow up to 45 minutes to complete the training.


This America's Heroes at Work training was developed by the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Office of Disability Employment Policy and the Veterans' Employment and Training Service with strong support from the Job Accommodation Network; the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury; the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center; and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Helping Those Who Served - June 30, 2010

equaljusticeworks writes
"Helping Those Who Served June 30, 2010

In 2010, thanks to funding from the Corporation for National and Community Services, Equal Justice Works is placing 9 AmeriCorps Legal Fellows across the county to serve veterans who are homeless or facing homelessness. The Fellows will take a holistic approach to assisting veterans and their families by helping to stabilize their living situations, securing VA and government benefits, medical benefits, and providing legal representation to overcome the barriers they face when obtaining other essential support services. The Fellows will also assist with mobilizing and training volunteers in Veterans Affair mediation and representation with the goal of providing services to veterans, including veterans with disabilities, veterans who are unemployed, older veterans, and veterans in rural communities.

During their 11 month term of service which begins this August, we anticipate that these Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellows will provide services to 1500 veterans, including those with disabilities, those who are unemployed, older veterans, and veterans who live in rural communities. Additionally, we will aim to help 600 veterans with legal issues, 250 veterans and their families with legal assistance as it relates to housing assistance programs and home foreclosure, and 650 returning veterans who face criminal charges by providing effective legal defense.

Our 9 AmeriCorps Legal Fellows will work with the following organizations on their veteran’s initiative projects:

  • County of San Diego, Office of the Primary Public Defender and the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, CA. One Fellow will develop a Veterans Treatment Court in San Diego and enhance the quality of legal representation of military and veteran clients by advising and supplementing criminal justice attorneys.
  • The Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, Washington, DC. One Fellow will provide direct legal assistance to veterans, including conducting initial client interviews, providing advice and counsel, and taking on cases for full representation.
  • Inner City Law Center, Los Angeles, CA. One Fellow will focus on serving veterans who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder induced by military sexual trauma, which is sexual assault or harassment that occurs in military settings
  • Legal Aid of West Virginia, Charleston, WV. Two Fellows will work in tandem across the state to serve veterans in rural and urban areas. They will also reach out to community groups and the VA to train people about the legal needs of veterans.
  • Northwest Justice Project, Seattle WA. One Fellow will utilize NJP’s existing staff and infrastructure to provide advice and brief services, or full representation.
  • Public Counsel, Los Angeles, CA. Two Fellows will serve with the Center for Veterans Advancement and will assist at-risk and homeless veterans and their families by helping to stabilize their living situations; securing government benefits, including VA benefits, Supplemental Security Income, General Relief, and medical benefits; and providing veterans with legal representation to overcome barriers they face in procuring employment, housing, medical care, and support services.
  • Three Rivers Legal Services, Jacksonville, FL. One Fellow will advocate for veterans and their dependants. The fellow will learn to file claims and appeals with the Department of Veterans affairs for disability and pensions, assure enforcements of the Service Members Civil Relief Act and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act; he/she will also advocate for rights involving mental health, medical relief and housing.

This is the first phase of a Veterans initiative that we hope to greatly expand in 2011. We will be posting updates on the progress of the Fellows throughout the coming year.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Washington State: Veterans Child Support Project: Helping Homeless and At-Risk Veterans with Child Support Problems - Pro Bono Opportunity

The Northwest Justice Project is seeking volunteer attorneys and law students to provide pro bono legal assistance to low-income veterans with child support problems. A free "Child Support 101" CLE will be held for volunteers at Seattle University School of Law on Friday, August 13, 2010. Registration information and other CLE and project details will be provided to those who volunteer.

Child support obligations are a barrier to housing, employment, and self-sufficiency for many homeless and at-risk veterans. Many veterans incurred these child support obligations while they were homeless, in a phase of active addiction, or otherwise untreated for a serious mental illness. For incarcerated veterans, the growing arrears from unpaid child support can be a significant barrier to reentry into the community. Many veterans may be able to reduce their child support obligations to a more manageable level and help eliminate these barriers.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the American Bar Association (ABA) are piloting a project in Seattle and eight other cities to assist homeless and at-risk veterans with child support problems. The local partners for this project include Northwest Justice Project, Open Door Legal Services, VA, DSHS Division of Child Support, and the HHS Seattle Regional Office of Child Support Enforcement.

The local partners are recruiting private attorneys to provide pro bono legal services to veterans who need assistance with their child support obligations. Services will include assessments to determine whether the veteran meets criteria for renegotiation of child support payments and assistance with modifying child support obligations and negotiating payment arrangements and adjustments for child support arrears. Experienced mentors will be available to assist volunteers in providing these services.

If you are interested in volunteering for this project, please contact Bridgette Murphy, Northwest Justice Project, 206.464.1519 ext. 615, .

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Aug 2/San Francisco, CA - Stepping up Justice for Veterans as They Stand Down

This 90-minute free CLE will examine emerging best practices such as Veteran Treatment Courts designed to help reduce criminal recidivism among current and future veterans while assisting them in obtaining supervised therapeutic treatment. The VA recently signaled its enthusiastic support of this remarkable court model by designating 153 Veterans Justice Outreach workers at V.A. hospitals to coordinate with local courts to help divert veterans with PTSD, TBI, or other clinical needs from jails or prison. 


Recognizing this effort's enormous potential, the ABA developed policy promoting Veterans Treatment Courts based upon emerging best practices, and this CLE will provide the tools that lawyers and judges will need in order to implement this model effectively in their jurisdictions. We will examine the full range of offenses that these courts are addressing and discuss the courts' experiences with balancing public safety with helping veterans receive therapy and support in community based settings. Panelists will also highlight model pro bono programs aimed at assisting veterans to obtain benefits as well as child support modifications, including an exciting national pilot project recently launched by the ABA, the VA and the Office of Child Support Enforcement aimed at addressing arrears which often serve as barriers to employment and housing.



Stepping up Justice for Veterans as They Stand Down

Monday August 02 , 2010

  • By: American Bar Association
  • Time: 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
  • Time Zone: Pacific Time (US & Canada)
  • Location:
  • Presidential CLE Centre
    Moscone Center West
    Room 3006, 3rd Floor
    San FranciscoCA
  • Amy E. Horton-Newell

  • Source: CALegalAdvocates
Judge Stephen Manley, Veterans Treatment Court, San Jose, CA
Sean Clark, US Department of Veterans Affairs, National Coordinator, Veterans Justice Outreach, Washington, DC
Brian Clubb, National Association of Drug Court Professionals, Alexandria, VA
Antonia Fasanelli, Homeless Persons Representation Project, Baltimore, MD
Paul Freese, Public Counsel, Los Angeles, CA
ara Sommarstrom, Minnesota Justice Foundation, Minneapolis, MN
  • CLE Credit Comments: Free 90 minutes of CLE

Friday, July 9, 2010

July 24 deadline for OEF/OIF PTSD vets

United States Court of Federal Claims logoA July 24 deadline to opt-in to lawsuit for OEF/OIF vets discharged due to PTSD and shorted benefits is coming up fast.

That means if you qualify, NOW is the time to sign up and opt-in. If you don't, you can still sue on your own but it'll be a whole lot harder without the help of your buddies or the lawyers who are working on the case at no cost to the veterans.

You can learn about it at this website:, but here are the key points:
"This website provides information about a class action lawsuit known as Sabo v. United States. This lawsuit is very important to some (but not all) veterans who were diagnosed during military service with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and then discharged from active duty due, at least in part, to their PTSD.

This lawsuit does not affect most of the tens of thousands of veterans who have been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) over the last 30 years. It only involves veterans who
(a) served on active duty in the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, or Air Force,
(b) were found by a Physical Evaluation Board to be unfit for continued service due, at least in part, to the individual's PTSD,
(c) were assigned a disability rating for PTSD of less than 50%, and, as a result,
(d) were released, separated, retired, or discharged from active duty after December 17, 2002, and prior to October 14, 2008 (regardless whether such release, separation, retirement, or discharge resulted in the individual's placement on the Temporary Disability Retirement List).
If you are one of the veterans described above, a legal notice about this lawsuit has been sent to you by the National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP). You should receive this legal notice by January 29, 2010. If you receive this legal notice, please read the four categories on the left of this page and click the category that fits your case. This will describe the additional benefits you potentially could receive if you join this lawsuit.

If you are one of the veterans described above and do not receive a legal notice from NVLSP by January 29, 2010, please click on "I DID NOT RECEIVE THE LEGAL NOTICE" on the left of [the website].
To answer a few more questions that might have occured to you, the website FAQ says
  • The lawyers who represent the veterans in the Sabo lawsuit are not charging the veterans a fee for their services. These lawyers have agreed not to charge you or other class members a fee if you choose to join the lawsuit.
  • If you join this lawsuit, neither the Court nor a military records correction board can reduce the PTSD rating(s) that the PEB assigned to you absent fraud or unusual circumstances.
One problem that I see with all this is that there may be more than a few people with PTSD who aren't receiving their mail at any address that the government has on file. And sometimes mail gets thrown out; it's not a conspiracy, it's just the way things work. So if you think you might qualify or you know someone might qualify, you have about two weeks to contact the National Veterans Legal Services Program Sabo Class Action Litigation and see if you (or the person you know) might qualify. Why not do it now?


Thursday, June 3, 2010

California Law Help New "Veterans and Military" Page

California Law Help has created a new web page devoted to resources for veterans and military personnel. See it here

Current topics on that page include:
  • Appeals
  • Citizenship through Military Service
  • Disabled Veterans
  • Insurance for Veterans and Family Members
  • Military Service Records and Discharge Issues
  • Reservists and National Guard
  • Senior Veterans
  • Veteran and Military Families
  • Veteran and Servicemember Rights in Housing and Home Loans
  • Veterans' Benefits
  • Veterans' Education and Tuition Benefits
  • Veterans' Employment and Financial Rights
  • Veterans' Health
  • Veterans' Tax Issues
  • Women Veterans  
The URL is awkwardly long but you can get there here.
Well Done!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Idaho: Continuing Legal Education in support of National Guard deploying to Iraq

The Idaho National Guard  and Idaho Volunteer Lawyer Program  are co-sponsoring free CLE classes for volunteer attorneys to help members of the Guard who are being deployed to Iraq later this year.

The CLE will cover Military Legal Assistance, applicable statutes and regulations, and how the volunteer program will operate.

The CLE is free and materials will be distributed. Only attorneys who attend a CLE can provide Legal Assistance under this program.

Two CLE credits have been requested from ISB.

If you are interested in this unique opportunity and CLE, please contact Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) M. Lynn Dunlap (208) 734-5885  or LTC David Dahle, the State Judge Advocate at (208) 272-5199

There are multiple CLE Scheduled:

June 4
Pocatello Armory

June 7
Idaho Falls Armory

July 16 and 19
Ada County Armory

August 2
Twin Falls Armory

More Information:

Monday, April 19, 2010

May 14 / Quantico, VA - Military Law Update

The Military Law Section of the Virginia State Bar has put together an outstanding Seminar where you can learn the latest on:

"Constitutional Law vs. The War on Terrorism"
"Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights"
"Ethical Issue facing Military attorneys"

Our featured speakers include:
Eric S. MontalvoMajor, United States Marine Corps (Ret)
Puckett and Faraj, PC
Courtney Wheeler Lieutenant Colonel, Judge Advocate, U.S. Army Reserve (Ret)
Ombudsman Director, Virginia Employer Support to the Guard and Reserve
Edward L. Davis Colonel, Judge Advocate, U.S. Army Reserve (Ret)
Bar Counsel, Virginia State Bar

Friday, May 14, 2010
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 Noon

Marine Corps Base Quantico,
Expeditionary Warfare School (EWS)

3 hours with 1 in ethics (pending)


(Please register by May 7th to allow registration lists to be forwarded to the base)
Mail to:
Ms. Dolly Shaffner
Virginia State Bar
707 E. Main St. Suite 1500
Richmond, VA 23219
Or email her at
or Fax form to (804) 775-0501

Directions to Quantico:
Marine Corps Base Quantico is located off of Interstate 95 in Virginia, 36 miles south of Washington D.C. and 20 miles north of Fredericksburg.
From I-95: Take exit 150, Quantico/Triangle. Take route 619 east to the entrance of the base. Marine sentries assist visitors arriving at the base; visitors are issued vehicle passes and given directions to their destination. Proper identification, such as a state driver's license, is required to get onto base.