General Mattis and Rep. Panetta Take Part in LSC Veterans Task Force Hearing

Representative James Panetta (CA-20) and leaders from law and veterans services joined the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) on Tuesday, November 10, for the second field hearing of LSC’s Veterans Task Force. General Jim Mattis, former Secretary of Defense and current Senior Counselor at The Cohen Group, will provide recorded remarks. This virtual event is scheduled to commemorate Veterans Day, 2020.

Veterans should not have to fight for access to the justice system when they return home. They should get the help they need to obtain the benefits and legal assistance they are entitled to and so richly deserve. For more than 45 years, the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) and its grantees, along with other legal aid programs, have been providing this help. It is the mission of LSC’s Veterans Task Force to further access to justice for veterans by:

  • Raising awareness of the legal issues faced by veterans;
  •  Identifying ways to strengthen the relationships between legal aid providers and other veteran-serving organizations, including the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, treatment courts, and veterans advocacy organizations; 
  • Highlighting model programs that provide effective, integrated services to veterans and making recommendations for replicating or expanding those programs; and
  • Recommending strategies for engaging attorneys to provide legal assistance on a pro bono basis, including for complex legal issues.

Military service members dedicate their lives to defending America’s people, freedoms, and way of life. Even today, they fight for peace and justice on the battlefield. Once they return home and leave active duty, they often face legal issues that create barriers to a successful transition to civilian life. Civil legal problems — from threatened evictions to other-than-honorable discharges from the military — are often the greatest obstacles to a veteran’s health, housing, stability, and productivity. In 2017, 71% of households with veterans or other military personnel reported experiencing a civil legal problem in the past year. Twenty-one percent of those households reported experiencing 6 or more legal problems in the preceding year. Yet while civil legal needs among veterans are prevalent, low-income veterans and other military personnel received inadequate or no professional legal help for 88% of their civil legal problems in 2017.

 

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