How Legal Aid Helps Veterans
HOW LEGAL AID HELPS VETERANS
Local legal aid offices are gateways for veterans in need of civil legal assistance. Many veterans who served in combat confront legal problems—such as foreclosures, evictions, consumer fraud, child custody issues, and wrongful denials of benefits —that LSC-funded legal aid programs handle. LSC grantees across the country partner with veterans’ associations, advocates, and other service providers to do outreach and expand legal services to veterans.
An estimated 1.8 million veterans are eligible for LSC-funded services. In 2017, LSC grantees served more than 100,000 veterans and their family members with a range of legal problems. In addition to providing direct legal assistance, LSC grantees employ multiple strategies to identify and respond to the needs of veterans and their families. Veterans are especially vulnerable to homelessness. While veterans represent 7.6% of the U.S. population, they represent 9.2% of the homeless adult population. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, approximately 48,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. In addition, another 1.4 million veterans are at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing.
LSC and the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) work together to expand legal services to veterans and military families. As a part of this initiative, LSC supports StatesideLegal.org—the first website in the nation to focus exclusively on veterans’ federal legal rights and resources. Stateside Legal is a free resource for low-income individuals with a military connection, including veterans, current members of the military, and their families. The website provides information on a variety of subjects including disability benefits, employment matters, and legal protections for service members facing foreclosure proceedings. The website:
- Provides accurate, user-friendly legal content in high priority areas of the law.
- Identifies which legal protections and programs are available in specific situations (e.g., which apply to all veterans, activated Guard members, or spouses.).
- Provides links to other resources on a state-by-state basis.
The VA encourages use of Stateside Legal in connection with service to homeless veterans. In 2017, the website had more than 500,000 visitors from all 50 states and several countries, including Afghanistan and Iraq, and recorded more than one million page views.