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."