Monday, June 25, 2012

Federal Voting Assistance Program

Servicemembers, their families and other citizens living outside our United States can get help voting thanks to

If if you are a U.S. citizen 18 years or older and ...
  • An active duty member of the Armed Forces, Merchant Marine, Public Health Service, NOAA, or
  • A family member of the above, or 
  • Any other kind of U.S. citizen residing outside the United States ...
... you can simply go to, click on your state of residence, and follow the directions to get your absentee ballot.

This looks like a useful and convenient service that everyone it applies to should use. Spread the word!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Stateside Legal: An Index of Information for military, veterans, their families and advocates

Stateside Legal is a website for members of the military, veterans, their families and advocates. The goal of the site is to provide assistance in finding information to:
  • access benefits
  • find free legal help, and
  • better understand legal issues
The goal of this website is to index the best legal information from many websites into one easy-to-use site. the site also includes new interactive forms, videos, and legal analysis.
Sponsors:Two primary partnering organizations have worked together to create the Stateside Legal website. These organizations are Pine Tree Legal Assistance of Maine and the Arkansas Legal Services Partnership. In addition, the website has received help from many volunteers, including private attorneys, members of the Judge Advocate General [JAG] Corps, civilian Legal Assistance Attorneys, and veteran service officers.
Learn More At Stateside Legal

Thursday, June 21, 2012

RAND Resources for Veterans with #PTSD

RAND, a very serious nonprofit research corporation, offers several studies documenting the prevalence of post-deployment mental health problems among our newest generation of veterans, examining the delivery of post-deployment mental health care, reviewing the treatment capacity of health care systems in response to PTSD, and estimating the costs of providing quality mental health care to all affected veterans.

Some of their materials include:
Cover: Programs Addressing Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Among U.S. Military Servicemembers and Their Families

Programs Addressing Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Among U.S. Military Servicemembers and Their Families

Provides overviews and detailed descriptions of 211 programs currently sponsored or funded by the Department of Defense to address psychological health and traumatic brain injury, along with recommendations to maximize program effectiveness.

Cover: Invisible Wounds of War

Invisible Wounds of War: Psychological and Cognitive Injuries, Their Consequences, and Services to Assist Recovery

A comprehensive study of the post-deployment health-related needs associated with post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression, and traumatic brain injury among servicemembers returning from Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

Cover: Veterans Health Administration Mental Health Program Evaluation

Veterans Health Administration Mental Health Program Evaluation: Capstone Report

Evaluation of mental health services provided by the VA for veterans with selected mental diagnoses and recommendations for improving capacity and quality monitoring.

For more, see "Resources for Servicemembers and Veterans with PTSD", June 21, 2012, RAND Blog.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Representing Washington State Veterans: Basic Legal and Cultural Concepts

The Northwest Justice Project recently published a “Representing WA Veterans” Manual on Washington Law Help, the website for low-income WA residents seeking information on legal issues.
Its intended audience is legal aid advocates who have veteran clients, but it may be useful to veterans themselves and other counselors and case managers who work with veterans.
The authors are Attorney Lauren Peach, Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Fellow at NJP's Veterans Project) and Leo Flor, a law student at the University of Washington. When Lauren started at NJP, she had a lot to learn about veterans services and referrals in Washington State. It took more than six months to begin to understand the multitude of services and benefits available to veterans. In that time she realized two things: first, that there is no one place a veteran or an advocate can go that gives one an overview of the military, veteran services, or referrals in Washington State. Second, Lauren spent a lot of her time answering the same technical legal questions from other advocates at NJP and partner organizations. There were no written materials she could send to the advocates explaining the answers to these questions.
This manual attempts to fill these gaps. 

Get The Manual Now!
The Northwest Justice Project (NJP) is Washington State’s largest provider of civil legal services to low-income Washington residents and a proud member of Washington’s Alliance for Equal Justice. With state and federal funding, NJP has 17 offices around the state, and serves between 16,000-20,000 low-income clients annually. This group of clients has historically included veterans, but no focused outreach and capacity focused exclusively on assisting low-income veterans as a distinct population with unique needs and abilities. Growing recognition of this gap in services inspired NJP attorneys to begin focusing on veterans. Concurrently, the Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps legal fellowship program perceived this same gap in services at the national level and in 2010 began offering one-year fellowships to legal aid organizations to fill the gap. NJP received one of those fellowships, supplemented by funding through the King County Veterans Levy, Washington State Department of Veteran Affairs, the Washington State Bar Association’s LAMP (Legal Assistance to Military Personnel) section, and the Osborne Family Foundation. NJP’s Veterans Project is the product of this collaborative funding and community support that enabled NJP to hire in August 2010 one full-time attorney to work exclusively with veterans.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Military Spouse JD Network: A Bar Association for Military Spouses

The Military Spouse JD Network is an organization to support military spouses who pursue a legal career. Billing itself as "A Bar Association for Military Spouses", MSJDN:
  • Advocates for bar membership without examination,
  • Encourages hiring military spouses, and
  • Provides a support network.
Lawyer-spouses of servicemembers face exceptional barriers to practice, since they are frequently obliged to move from state-to-state. Imagine having to take the bar exam every three or five years! And then there's the problem of building a practice, maintaining CLE requirements, and so on.

These are real problems, but they are solvable and MSJDN intends to solve them. MSJDN includes military spouses from all branches of the United States Military, as well as spouses of retired service members and legal and military organizations who support our mission. Membership is FREE, just register HERE.

For more information:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 FAQ

From the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs
The VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 extended and expanded the tax credit for hiring certain qualified Veterans. Through WOTC, for-profit employers may receive tax credits as high as $9,600 per qualified Veteran or up to $6,240 for qualified tax-exempt organizations. The amount of the credit will depend on a number of factors, such as:
  • The length of the Veteran’s unemployment before hire 
  • The number of hours the Veteran works 
  • The Veteran’s first year of wages.
The WOTC only applies to new employees and the qualified Veteran must start work on or after November 22, 2011 and before January 1, 2013.
 Before claiming WOTC on a federal tax return, employers must first apply for and receive certification from a State Workforce Agency that the new hire is a Veteran that meets the required qualifications.
Learn More: