Friday, December 30, 2011

Learning to Advocate for Veterans ...

Persons eligible for Veterans Administration benefits sometimes need help in filing their claim, or may not even know the benefits that they are entitled to. A well-structured claim can also assist the VA in efficient administration. Now you can pick up the basics while earning credit:

Seeking More Resources

If you have free CLE in support of our military and veteran families, or are interested in developing them, please contact us so we can post them here and/or assist in development.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Jan 9/Houston, TX - Lone Star Legal Aid Needs You!

An announcement from Lone Star Legal Aid:

Lone Star Legal Aid Needs Volunteer Attorneys, Law Students and Community Partners!
  •     Do you want to gain experience or help less fortunate families?
  •     Can you volunteer a few hours each week or month to help?
  •    Are you a licensed attorney, an attorney awaiting bar exam results, a new law graduate, or a law student?
  •     Are you a graduate student, an undergrad, even a high school student?
  •     Are you a retiree, a stay-at-home parent, or anyone else who has some time to spare for volunteering?
We want YOU!

 2012 Kick-Off Volunteers’ Meet-n-Greet!

Monday, January 9, 2012
10:00 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Lone Star Legal Aid
1415 Fannin
Houston, TX 77002

We provide training, supervision, support, and equipment.
For attorneys, we provide malpractice insurance for cases you handle for our clients.
To meet us, learn more about what we do and how you can help, and to sign up to volunteer, please consider attending this special event.
Linda Good
Learn More:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Banks Caught Stealing Homes of Servicemembers

Some rob with a gun, some rob with a pen ... but the easiest way is to use computers and the legal system:
From the Financial Times:
"Ten leading US lenders may have unlawfully foreclosed on the mortgages of nearly 5,000 active-duty members of the US military in recent years, according to data released by a federal regulator.
JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America this year reached legal settlements in which they agreed to pay damages to nearly 200 service members who claimed that their homes had been improperly seized.
High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email to buy additional rights.

Data released last week by the Treasury’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which regulates national banks, shows that 10 lenders – including BofA, but not JPMorgan, which was not part of the study – are reviewing nearly 5,000 foreclosures of homes belonging to service members and their families to see if they complied with the law.
Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act of 2003, mortgage servicers have to follow special procedures when foreclosing on homes belonging to active-duty members of the armed forces and their families. For instance, there are restrictions on so-called default judgments, in which homes are seized after the borrower fails to appear in court.
In April, JPMorgan reached a multimillion-dollar settlement with members of the armed services. The bank admitted to 27 wrongful foreclosures in May. Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan chief executive, apologised for his bank’s errors, calling it a “painful aberration”...."
Read the Entire Article :
"US lenders review military foreclosures" By Shahien Nasiripour in New York
Now, some people may object to the verb "steal". But why? They took someone's property wrongfully. If they were a kid pocketing a candybar, who would hesitate to call it theft?

"... Yes, as through this world I've wandered
I've seen lots of funny men;
Some will rob you with a six-gun,
And some with a fountain pen.
And as through your life you travel,
Yes, as through your life you roam,
You won't never see an outlaw
Drive a family from their home."
-- Woodie Guthrie

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dec 2/Paris, TX - Remembering Our Veterans CLE for XAttorneys Serving Veterans

Lone Star Legal Aid announces:

Lone Star Legal Aid Hosts “Remembering Our Veterans,” A Free CLE Training on Dec 2 for Attorneys Serving Veterans
TX) Veterans Day festivities may have now ended, but Lone Star Legal
Aid continues our mission to honor veterans and service members by
partnering with private attorneys to increase legal services for
low-income veterans and service members. It is an unfortunate reality
that countless Texas military veterans and their dependents have serious
legal problems, and, like other low-income Texans, cannot afford to
hire an attorney. To help Texas lawyers serve an often-overlooked
population, Lone Star Legal Aid’s Paris Branch office is conducting a
half-day continuing legal education (CLE) event for Texas attorneys. The
CLE will take place December 2, 2011 from 1:00-5:00 at the Lamar County
Court House located at
119 North Main in Paris.

are critically difficult economic times where resources are scarce and
our client population’s needs continue to multiply,” said Kristy
Rodgers, Branch Manager for Lone Star Legal Aid’s Paris office. “Many
veterans come to our office in need of help on a range of simple to
complex and urgent legal matters, but Legal Aid simply cannot serve
every one. This harsh reality makes our partnerships with private
attorneys so valuable because they help ensure that more low-income
Texans have access to justice.   

are grateful to be expanding partnerships to help expand legal services
for low-income Texans,” Ms. Rodgers continued, “especially for our men
and women veterans who served our country so bravely.”

CLE is free for Texas attorneys who agree to accept at least one civil
case from Lone Star Legal Aid for a low-income Texas veteran on a pro
bono basis. Attorneys who attend the event can earn up to 4 hours of CLE
credit from the State Bar of Texas. The event will be moderated by
Lamar County Judge Bill Harris. The program will include an overview of
Veteran Benefits, federal and state protections for active service
members and other issues of interest to attorneys serving veterans such
as IRS considerations.
Check out the flyer here: PARIS CLE VETERANS
For more information or to RSVP contact Lone Star Legal Aid’s Paris Office at 903–785-8711.                                                                               

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Nov 15/San Francisco - Service Members and #Veterans: The Right to Protest and Possible Consequences

As part of the 99%, servicemembers and veterans have been
participating in Occupy protests in droves. But what are the
consequences for such actions? Can servicemembers be punished under the
Uniform Code of Military Justice for such protests, or do the freedoms
guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution apply to them, too?

Please join the Bay Area Military Law Panel of the National Lawyers Guild, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans for Peace, and Courage to Resist for a workshop on servicemembers’ rights to protest and related
Service Members and Veterans: The Right to Protest and Possible Consequences
Tuesday, November 15, 2011, 7-9pm

American Friends Service Committee

65 Ninth Street

San Francisco, CA 94103
Topics covered:
  • Active duty and reservists’ protest rights
  • Potential impact on veterans benefits for criminal justice-involved veterans
  • Protest participation and PTSD triggers
  • Report back from IVAW’s participation and update on Scott Olsen.
Jane Kaplan

Steve Collier, Teresa Panepinto, Rai Sue Sussman
1.5 hours of free CLE credit available, .5 of which is ethics credit.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Army bars dual U.S. citizens from most jobs

Margaret Stock
Margaret Stock, Army Reserve, wrote an interesting, and opinionated, article:
Earlier this year, the Army issued a revised personnel regulation with far-reaching consequences.
In this August 4 revision, Army Regulation 601-210, the Army announced that persons who are dualcitizens, of the United States and another country, are not permitted to enlist, in the Army, Army Reserve, or Army National Guard, for jobs that require a security clearance – “unless they already possess a security clearance.” The regulation is important because it potentially bars millions of Americans from most Army jobs: The vast majority of Army jobs require a security clearance –including officer appointments, Special Forces, Military Intelligence, and Military Police jobs, but also most others.
Dual citizenship is something that millions of Americans possess, often inadvertently, but other times because dual citizenship allows them to travel more freely, or live and work easily in other countries.
Whether a person holds citizenship in a particular country is a matter of that country’s law, not of U.S. law. One’s citizenship is thus not always within the control either of the individual or of the United States government.
Although some countries allow their citizens to expatriate, others do not. Some people are dual citizens because their parents or grandparents hold citizenship in a foreign country; others are dual citizens because they were born in another country.....
You'll want to read the whole article at

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Legal Support for Servicemembers, Reservists and Veterans Participating in Political Protests

Members of our warrior community may participate in political protests, but there are rules especially for active duty servicemembers. This has become a matter of increased urgency in recent days, and it's worth noting that the general principles apply regardless of the political issue and stance. In this context, materials prepared by the National Lawyer's Guild Military Law Task Force can be especially helpful. Here's a recent press release:
The National Lawyers Guild has endorsed the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City and thousands of cities world-wide and offered legal support.
Members of the US military have joined the OWS protests in many locales. As the Military Law Task Force of the NLG, we stand ready to coordinate legal support for active duty servicemembers, reservists and veterans who are facing harassment and/or legal sanctions for participating in these important protests. (We can be reached by telephone at (619)463-2369 or on our website at this link.)
We also want to correct some of the misinformation given to members of the military about the right to protest. Contrary to popular opinion, active-duty members of the military do retain some of their constitutional rights. While there are some military-specific restrictions on these rights, most protest actions are in fact legal.
Department of Defense (DoD) Directive 1325.6, “Guidelines for Handling Dissident and Protest Activities Among Members of the Armed Forces” and relevant case law lays out the basic parameters of what servicemembers can and can’t do, but in a nut-shell the basic thing to remember is that servicemembers retain their right to protest, except under the following situations:
1. Protests while in uniform(some commanders have interpreted this to even include wearing part of one’s uniform, such as wearing only one’s uniform boots with civilian clothing)
2. Protests on military property
3. Protests while on duty
4. Protests outside the United States
5. Protesting that includes the use of “disrespectful” speech about one’s command chain (including the President), even if this speech is true.
6. Protesting in situations that constitute a “breach of law and order” or where “violence is likely to occur” (arguably an unconstitutionally vague provision)
Along with these basic guidelines, other restrictions apply to partisan/electoral political activity – See DOD Instruction – Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces 1344.10
And it is more important to remember that commanders often break the law, and seek to intimidate and threaten servicemembers who act within the boundaries of the law. If you or someone you know experiences this, please know that the MLTF has your back, and we can help you find a lawyer and/or a G.I. Rights counselor in your area to assist you in fighting back against unjust treatment. Please contact us for more assistance.
For more information:
Whether or not you agree with Occupy Wall Street, you can learn more about your rights, and avoiding unnecessary problems, through the Military Law Task Force's resources at

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The #Veterans Crisis Line

Attorneys are Counselors-at-Law, not Counselors for other purposes. Fortunately, legal clients who need services beyond that which lawyers can provide may find some help in The Veterans Crisis Line:
The Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline and online chat. Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1 or chat online to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
More about the Veterans Crisis Line including live web chat!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Base Guides Online

Online guides to military bases can provide useful public information in a compact format. Often, just getting the right phone number can save every a lot of time - clients, attorneys, and base staff who deal with misdirected calls!
Most, if not all, military bases now have website, but commercial sites have their own take on what's important and, since every person is different, you may prefer one style to another.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

2012 Veterans Treatment Court Planning Initiative (VTCPI) Application - Nov 7 DEADLINE!

Note the deadline for applications in this announcement!
"The Veterans Treatment Court Planning Initiative (VTCPI) is designed to assist jurisdictions in the planning and development of Veterans Treatment Court programs.  NDCI staff and a cadre of Veterans Treatment Court practitioners work with planning teams to shape their programs, develop their policy and procedure manuals, and build team unity.

The 2012 Veterans Treatment Court Application is NOW OPEN!
Application Deadline November 7, 2011
  • Are you looking for ways to assist justice-involved Veterans in your community who are suffering from substance abuse and/or mental health issues?
  • Would you like to be educated on the scientific research and best practices to apply to a Veterans Treatment Court?   
Each session has been designed to familiarize participants with the building blocks of Veterans Treatment Courts.  Topics include, but are not limited to:
  • Team Building
  • Mission Statement
  • Target Populations
  • Combat Operational Stress Reactors
  • Evaluation/MIS
  • Sustainability
BJA, in partnership with the NDCI, developed the content of each DCPI program. In offering training and technical assistance through DCPI, BJA demonstrates a commitment to working with local jurisdictions to prevent and control substance abuse and crime.  Representatives from each of these organizations will attend all DCPI events.

Up to 20 jurisdictions will be served through the VTCPI.  Once capacity is reached, a waitlist will be initiated.  Waitlisted teams will be accepted into the VTCPI as space becomes available. Funding for VTCPI is contingent on the availability and amount of FY 2012 funding for the Drug Court Grant Program.

Jurisdictions will be selected to participate in a facilitated 6-month planning process.  Each jurisdiction will be required to complete pre-training worksheets, attend one, five-day VTCPI training program, maintain routine correspondence with program staff, and submit a Veterans Treatment Court implementation plan/draft policy and procedure manual.  The first training in 2012 will take place in San Jose, California, February 6-10.  The dates and location of the second training will be determined at a future date.  Notification of training date and location assignment will be provided by NDCI upon the teams’ acceptance.

Completion of Application
To apply, each interested jurisdiction must complete the on-line Application Form and submit a letter of commitment from the judge. please fax or email your letter to Brian Clubb."
More Information:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

War and Sacrifice in the Post-9/11 Era The Military-Civilian Gap

The Pew Research Center put out a useful study comparing America's veterans and the general public - demographics, attitudes and the burden of our decade of war:
"America’s post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are unique. Never before has this nation been engaged in conflicts for so long. And never before has it waged sustained warfare with so small a share of its population carrying the fight.
This report sets out to explore a series of questions that arise from these historical anomalies. It does so on the strength of two nationwide surveys the Pew Research Center conducted in the late summer of 2011, as the 10th anniversary of the start of the war in Afghanistan approached ..."
Advocates for the military and veteran community will find this objective background useful. For example, were you aware that "At a time when marriage rates are declining in the broader population, the share of active-duty military personnel who are married has increased dramatically in recent decades. Today, a majority of all enlisted personnel are married (53.1%), up from 40.1% in 1973. Overall, those in the military are significantly more likely to be married than are civilians of a comparable age." ....

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Veterans Opportunity to Work Act (The VOW Act)

This, from the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, gives important information on a program that advocates could support. Jobs can solve a lot of problems!

THERE ARE AN ALARMING number of unemployed veterans in the United States – over 1 million today. As Iraq and Afghanistan veterans come home, and as Vietnam, Cold War, and Persian Gulf War veterans can’t find or lose their jobs, the economy is losing some of its best and brightest leaders and workers.
The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is committed to helping the men and women who have served our nation and protected our Liberty compete in today’s austere economic climate through comprehensive legislation that provides a 360 solution to veteran unemployment.
Introducing the Veteran Opportunity to Work Act of 2011 (H.R. 2433). VOW to act today!
VOW Act Logo
The Veteran Opportunity to Work Act of 2011

VOW to Act

Veterans Out of Work
  • Vietnam Era Veterans: 236,000
  • Cold War Era Veterans: 258,000
  • Persian Gulf War Era Veterans: 182,000
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Era Veterans: 192,000

A Preview of the VOW Act

Link to video for The Veteran Opportunity Work Act

What is the VOW Act?

The Transition Assistance Program (TAP)
TAP provides servicemembers who are about to be discharged with job seeking skills such as resume writing to help their transition to the civilian world. But are these programs working? The VOW Act enhances TAP to ensure it is effective, measures success, and requires an ongoing review of the program to strengthen it for the 21st century. In addition, the VOW Act will make attendance at TAP classes mandatory for all servicemembers.
Education & Training
Through the Post-9/11 GI Bill more veterans are getting a secondary education than ever before. Forty-eight percent of veterans using education benefits are enrolled in 4-year colleges and universities, 33 percent are enrolled in two-year colleges, 8 percent are enrolled in graduate school, and 11 percent are enrolled in an on-the-job training program or apprenticeship. We have laid the foundation to have the most robust, qualified veteran workforce since World War II.
The VOW Act will also enable 100,000 unemployed veterans of past eras to receive up to 1-year of Montgomery GI Bill benefits. This opportunity will allow veterans to acquire the skills to find employment in today’s jobmarket.
In addition, to give state governors maximum flexibility in the funds they receive to help veterans find jobs, the VOW Act will give governors the option of using up to 25% of the funding for direct training services for veterans.
National Guard & Reserve
The VOW Act honors the service of our National Guard and Reserve – 14% of whom are currently unemployed. When they left their job to serve their nation, their employer, by law, must reemploy them upon return. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. The VOW Act strengthens the protections provided by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).
Licensing & Certification
Despite America’s military having some of the best-trained professionals, the inability to be credentialed or licensed in their field prevents these men and women from obtaining meaningful and gainful employment that makes use of their military training. These professions include, but are not limited to, combat medics, truck drivers, and aircraft technicians.
The VOW Act will work with the Department of Labor and the states to identify roadblocks to obtaining employment.
Members of Congress are encouraged co-sponsor the VOW Act.  Please contact Jon Clark at (202) 225-3527 for more information.

What Others are Saying About the Vow Act

American Legion (letter dated August 3, 2011)
Disabled American Veterans (letter dated July 15, 2011)
Fleet Reserve Association (letter dated September 7, 2011)
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (letter dated July 18, 2011), plus IAVA Announces Support for Chairman Miller’s Jobs Legislation for Vets
Military Officers Association of America (letter dated July 14, 2011)
Military Order of the Purple Heart (letter dated July 11, 2011)
National Association for Uniformed Services (letter dated August 15, 2011)
National Association of Realtors (letter dated July 21, 2011)
Paralyzed Veterans of America (letter dated July 19, 2011 ), plus Paralyzed Veterans on Capitol Hill
The MIlitary Coalition (letter dated August 3, 2011)
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, (letter dated August 1, 2011
Vets1First (letter dated July 13, 2011)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

VA Launching Nationwide Homeless Outreach and Media Plan

From the VA:
VA Launching Nationwide Homeless Outreach and Media Plan
Seeks involvement of community partners


The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will launch a nationwide media and awareness plan, directly supporting Secretary Shinseki’s intent to eliminate veteran homelessness by 2015, on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2011, in 28 select U.S. cities and rural communities. 
A coordinated federal, state and local community effort is key to the launch as well as continuing efforts to dramatically increase awareness of supportive services available to homeless veterans and veterans at risk of homelessness and their families. As a result, a critical component of this outreach strategy involves leveraging VA’s relationship with community partners to engage or re-engage veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness with VA services through increased awareness and outreach.

Through those valued partnerships, VA will recruit those who routinely encounter homeless veterans and at-risk veterans to serve as the initiative’s messengers while also developing locations where homeless and at-risk veterans congregate as direct communication channels.  For homeless veterans, this includes locations such as: Veteran Service-, Non-Government- and Faith-Based-Organizations; soup kitchens; homeless shelters; libraries; and emergency rooms. Among those singled out for message delivery will be local community program and service providers along with first responders. 
In support of this strategy, VA will work collaboratively with communities to direct these outreach partners and veterans to three primary channels for help: 
1) the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 1-877-4AID VET (1-877-424-3838), 
2) VA’s Homeless Veterans website at, and 
3) local VA medical centers.

Targeted outreach will occur at the 28 locations (21 urban and seven rural) listed below. These sites were identified by U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), in the Annual Homeless Assessment Report, and by VA staff as key areas for increasing awareness.

Urban Areas
Atlanta, GA 
Harrisburg, PA
New York, NY
Boston, MA
Houston, TX
Phoenix, AZ
Chicago, IL
Las Vegas, NV
San Diego, CA 
Cleveland, OH              
Los Angeles, CA
San Francisco, CA
Dallas, TX
Memphis, TN
Seattle, WA
Denver, CO
Miami, FL
St. Louis, MO
Detroit, MI
New Orleans, LA
Washington, D.C.
Rural Areas 
Anchorage, AK 
Canandaigua, NY
 Ft. Harrison, MT 
Fayetteville, NC
 Kauai, HI 
Oahu, HI 
Sioux Falls, SD

In addition to targeted outreach, VA’s ongoing outreach will consist of meetings with community stakeholders throughout the year. VA will continue street outreach in areas frequented by homeless veterans and will air Public Service Announcements (PSAs) throughout the year on radio and TV. VA aims to further its efforts through continued outreach across the United States, including rural outreach and solidifying relationships with community partners.
As an attachment to this email (scroll to the bottom), please find a list of events, outreach materials, and an updated fact sheet regarding VA’s homeless programs.

The second phase of the initiative involves the development and distribution of PSAs to 3,000 radio stations, 1,200 broadcast TV stations, and 500 cable outlets. In addition, a paid media strategy will be undertaken to purchase outdoor and print advertising in areas with the highest concentration of veterans who are homeless. Outdoor advertising (posters, bus wraps, billboards, bus wraps, and taxi shelters) will be primarily used as they are likely the strongest vehicles for reaching veterans who are homeless, since many do not have access to other forms of advertising. To reach first responders, mental health providers, and social workers who have direct contact with struggling or homeless veterans, targeted ads will be developed for these audiences and placed in niche magazines, newspapers and other periodicals. Attached is a sampling of materials (posters and brochures) that will be distributed as part of this initiative.

Your organization is an important resource to achieve the Plan’s objective. The Department of Veterans Affairs values your partnership and appreciates your strong support and continuing efforts as we continue striving towards the goal of preventing and eliminating veteran homelessness by 2015.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Oct 11/Web - War Time: An Idea, Its History, Its Consequences

Although the U.S. has been engaged in some form of ongoing overseas armed conflict for more than a century, policy makers and the public continue to view wars as exceptional events that eventually give way to normal peace times. But if war is thought to be exceptional, “wartime” remains a shorthand argument justifying extreme actions like torture and detention without trial. As the public becomes more disconnected than ever from the wars their nation is fighting, the country is without political restraints on the exercise of war powers.
Webinar Title:
War Time: An Idea, Its History, Its Consequences
View Webcast
Ben C. Green Lecture
presented by the Institute for Global Security Law and Policy
Oct 11, 2011 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM
Moot Courtroom (A59)
11075 East Blvd
Cleveland, Ohio 44106
CLE Credit:
1 of CLE credit available.

Mary L. Dudziak
Mary L. DudziakJudge Edward J. and Ruey L. Guirado Professor of Law, History and Political Science
University of Southern California
Mary L. Dudziak is a Visiting Professor at Duke Law School this fall. Her book War  Time: An Idea, Its History, Its Consequences will be published next year (Oxford). Professor Dudziak has received several fellowships, including Guggenheim; Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, School of Social Science; American Council of Learned Societies; and others. She has been a Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and the University of Maryland Law School. Professor Dudziak began teaching at the University of Iowa College of Law in 1986. She holds a Ph.D. in American Studies (1992) and a J.D. (1984) from Yale, and an A.B. (1978) from U.C. Berkeley. She created the Legal History Blog, a leading blog in law and the humanities.
Free and open to the public. Reception follows.
1 hr. continuing legal education credit available, pending approval.
Recording in any form is prohibited.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Friday, October 7, 2011

Traumatic Injury Protection Benefit Extended!

As reported by the VA:
Effective October 1, 2011, the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection benefit (TSGLI) will be payable for all qualifying injuries incurred during the period October 7, 2001 to November 30, 2005, regardless of the geographic location where they occurred, and regardless of whether the member had SGLI coverage at the time of the injury.  The Veterans’ Benefit Improvement Act of 2010 removes the requirement that injuries during this period be incurred in Operations Enduring or Iraqi Freedom.  
Former Reservists and National Guard members who were injured during the retroactive period and suffered a qualifying loss are eligible for a TSGLI payment.  Even those injured in car accidents or other civilian traumatic events that occurred when the member was not drilling are eligible for a TSGLI payment if they had a qualifying loss resulting from their injuries.
Are You Or A Client Eligible?  Follow this link to see if you may be eligible for a TSGLI payment.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Nov 3/Atlanta, GA - Training Seminar for Accreditation as a Claims Agent or Attorney before the Department of Veterans Affairs (#CLE)

ICLE in Georgia announces:
This special CLE training seminar will satisfy the statutory and regulatory requirements for participants to be accredited as a claims agent or attorney by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
The seminar will be eight CLE hours in length, including one hour of professionalism. The agenda will address all the required topics. The Honorable Will A. Gunn, General Counsel of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, D.C., has accepted our invitation and will join us for this event. Former Chief Judge William P. Greene, of the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims also intends to take part in the program.
The venue is the State Bar of Georgia Conference Center, located at 104 Marietta Street, N.W. in downtown Atlanta. Training will begin at 8:00 am, Wednesday, November 2, 2011, and will conclude at 5:00 pm. Registration and continental breakfast will begin at 7:30 am. Lunch also will be served. The early registration fee for this CLE program will be $170, which includes seminar materials and both meals.
You should register as soon as you receive the brochure, because we expect there will be a high demand to attend this program. Registration and attendance will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

Training Seminar for Accreditation as a Claims Agent or Attorney before the Department of Veterans Affairs (CLE)
Thursday November 03, 2011 7:30 AM - 5:00 PM
By: ICLE in Georgia, State Bar of Georgia Military Legal Assistance Program Committee
Conference Center
104 Marietta Street NW 
Atlanta, GA 
ICLE in Georgia
Please click on the link below to download the program brochure and registration form.ALERT: If you intend to take part in this CLE program, you must complete and submit a Form VA Form 21a to the Department of Veterans Affairs as a prerequisite of the accreditation process. The form should be mailed to the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of the General Counsel, 810 Vermont Avenue, NW, Washington D.C. 20420. The link to this form is at; or simply google "VA Form 21a" to download the blank VA form 21(a).

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Oct 21 DEADLINE for Stop-Loss Pay Claim: Apply NOW!

The 2009 War Supplemental Appropriations Act established Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay (RSLSP), providing $500 for each month/partial month served in stop loss status. Service members, veterans, and beneficiaries of servicemembers whose service was involuntarily extended under Stop Loss between Sept. 11, 2001 and Sept. 30, 2009 are eligible for RSLSP.
To receive this benefit, those who served under stop loss must submit a claim for the special pay by October 21, 2011.  The average benefit is $3,700.
Apply now because if you snooze, you lose! Here's where to go:

The following service-specific sites provide more information and allow you to begin the RSLSP claim process.


Marine Corps


Monday, October 3, 2011

Gessler Attacks Troops' Right To Vote: Act Now!

Gessler says "No!"
to sending ballots
to troops
Uniformed personnel registered to vote in Colorado, but serving abroad, will not be mailed ballots if they did not vote in 2010, according to an order by Colorado Secretary of State Gessler.
When county clerks objected, Gessler sued in court to force them not to mail ballots to servicemembers except for those that voted in 2010.
"Skip an Election - Lose Your Ballot - and Thank You For Your Service!"
This outrage systematically disenfranchises American patriots who are living out-of-state or even in a combat zone by order of their chain of command.
If this applies to you, you should act immediately to preserve your voting rights. Pueblo County residents can contact their county clerk; other voters should google their county clerk and do whatever it takes to ensure you can vote in the uncoming primary and other elections.
This action is probably in violation of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act of 1986 and the Military and Overseas Voting Empowerment Act of 2009, but it is up to you to enforce your rights: don't snooze!


According to the Denver Post ( ) Denver District Judge Brian Whitney denied a motion for a preliminary injunction filed by Secretary of State Scott Gessler, who argued that state law prevents Denver Clerk and Recorder Debra Johnson from mailing ballots to inactive voters. Ballots for next month's election will be mailed to troops serving overseas even if they skipped the 2010 election.
However, Gessler promised to keep fighting, calling the decision "merely the first salvo in a long election year to come."

Friday, September 30, 2011

Nov 4/San Francisco, CA - #Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program Training

Veterans denied benefits by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

Thousands of veterans or their survivors have filed appeals in the Court. Most cases involve claims for VA disability or death benefits. Unfortunately, for many veterans the promise of effective judicial review has proved elusive. A majority of those who appeal to the Court do not have a representative at the time they file their appeal.

Unrepresented veterans are at a significant disadvantage in litigating against the VA General Counsel’s Office, which represents VA in all Court proceedings. Mentally and physically disabled veterans may be especially disadvantaged.

Training Date: November 4, 2011
Sponsor: Arnold & Porter LLP and the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program
Location: One Embarcadero Center, San Francisco, CA
Time: 9:00AM to 5:00PM
Registration: Please check back for application form at


Monday, September 26, 2011

GI Bill and Predatory Schools (#veterans law)

What kind of predator would seek out veterans and their GI Bill benefits?
Tom Tarantino of IAVA reports:
"I recently attended a briefing held by Senators Tom Harkin and Tom Carper from the Senate Health Education and Labor (HELP) Committee on a potentially serious threat to student veterans and their families. Since implementation of the New GI Bill, for-profit colleges have received a disproportionate amount of GI Bill dollars. Of the ten educational institutions collecting the most V.A. benefits, eight are for-profit schools. Together, those eight schools collected $1 billion of the over $5 billion used in 2010 to educate veterans. Many of them have not returned the educational value and employment services that were promised to veterans when they enrolled.
This is a serious issue that IAVA has been tracking for over a year. Now we have the data and information to back up what we’ve been hearing from veterans who have been victimized. In anop-ed in the New York Times, Holly Petraeus said that predatory schools see veterans and service members as dollar signs in uniform.
It’s important to note that there are many for-profit schools that provide education and services to veterans who use distance learning or seek vocational degrees that are not available elsewhere. These schools are helping veterans and their families continue their educations and find meaningful employment. However, several reports have found that other for-profit schools will do anything to tap this pool of students. As a result, veterans, service members, and their families are not getting the educational training they have earned and they lose out on their benefits and credits. Many come out with degrees that do not help them achieve their professional goals. IAVA is fighting for ways to protect veterans’ educational options while ensuring that the bad actors in the for-profit educational industry are no longer able to take advantage of veterans and their families.
We currently do not know how many veterans have suffered at the hands of predatory schools. If you’ve had bad experiences with a for-profit college, email us at ...."
More at
Similar comments have come from the Veterans of Foreign Wars. This looks like an issue to be careful about, whether you're a veteran or advising a

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Gmail Supports US Service Members abroad: calling home for free

This may be helpful for contacting clients serving abroad, or helping them stay in touch with their families. According to
Calling phones in the United States is now completely free for all uniformed military personnel with a valid United States Military (.mil) address. This means that troops stationed around the world can now call the United States at no cost, right from Gmail

To start making free calls, follow these 2 steps:

Step 1: Add your .mil address to your Google Account:
  1. Sign in on the Google Accounts homepage
  2. Click Edit next to 'Email addresses.'
  3. Add your .mil email in the 'Add an additional email address' field.
  4. Click Save. You will receive an email at your .mil address.
  5. Open the verification email and click the verification link.
Step 2: Click the 'Call phone' link in your chat roster and use the dialpad to make calls. You may be prompted to install the Voice & Video Chat plugin.
Similarly to free calling within the U.S., free calling to the U.S. for service members will be available for at least the rest of 2011. Calling to other destinations starts at as little as $.02/minute, and calling from Gmail is not available in all locations.
I hope someone will test this out, and report back on how it works:

Friday, September 23, 2011

Post-Incarceration Access to VA Health Care Benefits Extended to Eligible #Veterans

Veterans recently released from incarceration, or soon to be released, should be made aware of the following from the VA:
"In an effort to provide eligible Veterans access to VA health care benefits while transitioning from incarceration, VA has revised its policy to afford eligible Veterans access to VA healthcare benefits and services while in halfway houses and other temporary, post-incarceration housing. VA recognizes that the lack of access to healthcare, particularly mental healthcare, may contribute to newly released Veteran inmates becoming homeless or ultimately returning to prison. Long established, previous VA policy inhibited VA from providing access healthcare benefits and services to Veterans for whom another federal, state or local government, to include Veterans incarcerated in jails and prisons, has an obligation to provide health care. Revised VA policy enables VA to provide access to healthcare benefits and services to Veterans who reside in halfway houses and other temporary, post-incarceration housing.

If you are a Veteran previously enrolled in the VA healthcare system, please contact VA toll free at 1-877-222-VETS (8387) for more information.  If you are a recently released inmate who meets the basic eligibility requirements of a Veteran; however, you never applied for VA healthcare benefits,  please consider applying for enrollment in the VA healthcare system. You may apply online by visiting VA website at In addition, you may apply by calling VA toll free at 1-877-222-VETS (8387), Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., Eastern Time, or if convenient, you may apply in person by visiting your local VA medical facility."
Medical care can be a serious issue for clients who are re-integrating into the community. It is to everyone's advantage that those who are eligible for this program apply as soon as possible. Learn More at

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Nov 1+4/Kentucky - Free Legal Clinics for #Veterans

Legal Aid Society
Louisville, LK
The Legal Aid Society of Louisville, Kentucky will hold free legal clinics for veterans in several locations around the state.
The first two clinics are in Louisville and Elizabethtown:
  • Louisville: Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 2 p.m., Legal Aid Society offices, 416 West Muhammad Ali Blvd., Third Floor.
  • Elizabethtown:  Friday, Nov. 4, 2 p.m., American Legion Hall, 1251 Ring Road.

Please pre-register by calling (502) 584-1254, Ext. 3006
See flyer here. [PDF]

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Kentucky Legal Assistance to Military Personnel (LAMP)

The legal community in Kentucky provides Legal Assistance to Military Personnel in a variety of ways.

For the Warrior Community

Active duty service members may wish to go first to Armed Forces Legal Assistance's online database to "locate active duty legal activities offering general legal services within the continental United States". Here what is currently  listed for the state of Kentucky:

Fort Knox
3d Ave. Building 1310
Radcliff, KY 40121
Phone: 502-624-2771

Fort Campbell
Fort Campbell Legal Office
127 Forrest Road
Fort Campbell, KY 42223
Phone: 270-798-0965 635-0965

General-Purpose Resources

Servicemembers, veterans and their families are of course eligible to use the same resources as anyone else.

Private Practice Attorneys

Typically, a lawyer in private practice will listen to your situation for 15 or 20 minutes, then give you an idea about how to proceed, in general terms, without charging you. If the matter is something the lawyer can help you with, but must charge for, sometimes you can work out a military-family discount, especially if you are easy to work with. The Findlaw website has a city-by-city list of lawyers in Kentucky who are interested in representing active-duty military personnel, military reservists, and veterans .

For Lawyers

I have not found any Legal Assistance to Military Personnel (LAMP) section or committee with the Kentucky bar. This may be an opportunity for a veteran/lawyer looking to make a difference! Anyone with more information on these or other programs are invited to contact me; the most convenient way is to add in a comment below. The purpose is service!

See also

Gulf War Disability Filing Deadline Approaching!

pyridostigmine, a nerve agent antidote
and one of the implicated toxins
If you are Gulf War veteran and have a condition that you think may have arisen from that service (such as Gulf War Ill­ness, Fr­ibromyal­gia or Chronic fatigue syn­drome), you should get in gear and contact your Veteran Service Officer so you can file with the VA before the end of this year. Filing later than that may make it harder to prove your case since it may be argued that the symptoms didn't arrive.
For VA benefit purposes, Gulf War Veterans are defined as those who served on active duty in the Southwest Asia theater of military operations any time during the first Gulf War starting August 2, 1990 through the Iraq War and subsequent reduced operations in Iraq. Military operations include Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom, and New Dawn.
Gulf War Veterans have experienced illnesses that led VA and others to research whether exposures during the Gulf War caused the symptoms. VA presumes certain medically unexplained symptoms and illnesses are related to Gulf War service. Eligible Veterans may receive VA disability compensation and health care benefits. Surviving spouses, dependent children, and dependent parents of Gulf War Veterans who died as the result of illnesses related to Gulf War service may be eligible for survivors' benefits.
VA offers eligible Veterans a free Gulf War Registry health exam for possible long-term health problems related to Gulf War service.
All this takes time, and the end of the year is coming, there may be thousands of people filing soon; do you want to be in the front of the line or in the back?

For details, see "New Gulf War Disability Filing Deadline?" by Ben Krause of
Reportedly, the VA is working to extend the deadline to December 31, 2018, and you may wish to contact your Congresscritter about that. And if you have any doubts, get your paperwork in now; there is no good reason to delay.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

South Carolina Seeks #Volunteer Lawyers for Legal Assistance to Military Personnel Update

Since my first post on the South Carolina Bar Association's Legal Assistance to Military Personnel efforts, that organization seems to have upgraded and improved the resources they make available to servicemembers and families, and is recruiting lawyers to serve them. From its website:
"Military service often affects a service member’s ability to obtain legal counsel or representation for many legal issues. One of the biggest hindrances for these service members is the expense of private legal representation. After September 11, 2001, the ABA urged state bar organizations to take steps to provide reduced fee or free legal services to military personnel who were facing deployment/activation. The South Carolina Bar responded by creating Legal Assistance for Military Personnel (LAMP) in 2001 as an effort to meet this need by pairing qualifying military personnel with volunteer lawyers. Nine years later, the need for legal services in the military community remains high. The South Carolina Bar Pro Bono Program is now reviving the program and recruiting a fresh force of volunteer attorneys.

The South Carolina Bar’s program seeks to provide free or reduced fee legal services to active military personnel who are stationed in South Carolina or whose case is related to South Carolina in some way. Military service frequently places service members in unique and difficult legal situations. While active duty military personnel can obtain certain legal services for free from military lawyers, due to the limited resources of these departments many legal needs of service members are unmet. For example: a service member may need help getting out of a residential lease when he is called up for active duty; a service member may need to be present at a court hearing but is instead across the country or in another part of the world; a service member could need information about how a civil or criminal judgment against him could affect his military service, etc.

LAMP seeks to recruit volunteer attorneys who practice in several different areas of law including: Wills/Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Landlord/Tenant, Family, Employment, Probate, Guardianship/Adoption, Military, and Consumer. LAMP is an important and effective way for South Carolina’s legal community to serve those who willingly sacrifice so much for our country.
If you are a servicemember in or connected to South Carolina seeking legal aid, please fill out the handy form you'll find at You can also find some resources at first post on SCBA's LAMP program
If you are an attorney interested in helping these people out, contact  Kelly Teague at (803)799-6653, ext. 118 or

See also