LSC's Veterans Task Force: Separating from the Military and the Policy Implications of "Bad Paper"

LSC's Veterans Task Force is working to increase access to justice for veterans. Monday’s field hearing explored how legal aid can remove barriers to veterans’ well-being and financial stability.

Civil legal assistance for veterans is of vital importance. LSC’s 2017 Justice Gap Report found that 71% of low-income households with veterans or other military personnel had experienced a civil legal problem within the past year. The most recent U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs annual survey of homeless veterans found that four of their top twelve unmet needs involve legal assistance. An additional four of the highest unmet needs frequently have a legal component.

For veterans struggling with foreclosures, evictions, wrongful denials of benefits and other problems, local legal aid offices act as a critical gateway for help. Nearly 1.7 million veterans are eligible for LSC-funded legal aid.

The final panel, “Separating from the Military and the Policy Implications of ‘Bad Paper,’” will examine how discharge classification decisions affect veterans’ access to the VA and other benefits. The panelists include Bryan Thompson, Staff Attorney, Office of General Counsel, Department of Veterans Affairs; Dana Montalto, Veterans Legal Clinic, Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School; and Major Stephen Stokes, Staff Judge Advocate, Idaho National Guard. LSC Senior Assistant General Counsel Stefanie Davis will serve as moderator and DLA Partner Isabelle Ord will introduce the panelists.