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Advocating for Veterans: The Basics on VA Benefits, Discharge Upgrades and Veteran Cultural Competency 2013

Friday November 01 , 2013

  • By: PLI
  • Time: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Time Zone: Pacific Time (US & Canada)
  • CLE Credit
  • Location:
    PLI California Center
    685 Market Street
    San Francisco and Webinar, CA
  • Contact:
    PLI
  • Website: www.pli.edu
  • Source: New York

Why You Should Attend

There are over 21 million veterans in the U.S.; many of them are not aware of the benefits to which they are entitled. Medical and financial assistance are available to men and women who have served in the military, but some who can qualify are not receiving the benefits that they need. Attorneys can assist veterans with the problems that preclude them from receiving benefits, such as:

  • Lack of proper paper trails to "service-connect" their injuries
  • Ineligibility for benefits for those given less than fully honorable discharges for behaviors that were related to post traumatic stress disorder or minor disciplinary infractions

What You Will Learn

Nearly 45% of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan seek compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for service related injuries. A stunning 30% suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Many of those who should receive benefits will be denied. All of them will wait months or years for the VA to issue decisions on their claims. Learn how to navigate the VA claims process and to become an effective advocate for veterans in need. This all day program will provide an overview of VA disability law and military discharge review law. You will gain an understanding of different types of military discharges, why they are important, and how you can help veterans with less than Honorable discharges.

  • The three morning sessions provide the basics you need to represent veterans before the VA. The morning sessions fulfill the VA's requirement for qualifying CLE within the first 12 months of your VA accreditation.
  • The 1:45pm session, Veterans' Cultural Competency: Combat to Community, will help veterans' advocates to understand the challenges that veterans face in their transition to a noncombat community.
  • The 2:45pm to 5:00pm sessions will provide attorneys with the tools that they need to assist veterans in upgrading their discharge status and removing stigmatizing information from their discharge documents.

Who Should Attend

Attorneys seeking meaningful pro bono opportunities and any advocate who wants to help change the life of a veteran with a disability. Attorneys seeking to meet VA's CLE requirements for new and continuing VA accreditation should also attend. Finally, attorneys who hope to expand their practice areas to include veterans' cases where fees are available, should register to attend.

IMPORTANT!! GET ACCREDITED BY THE VA BEFORE YOU ATTEND THIS TRAINING.

  1. Attorneys and other advocates must be accredited to practice before the VA. To obtain accreditation you must complete this form: www.va.gov/vaforms/va/pdf/VA21a.pdf.
  2. Accreditation by the VA may take several weeks, so do not delay filing your application. You can speed up the process by emailing the form to OGCAccreditationMailbox@va.gov, and including a copy of your State Bar Certificate of Good Standing
  3. Within 12 months of accreditation you are required to complete three hours of qualifying CLE. The morning session of this program satisfies that requirement, but only if you have already received your accreditation from the VA.

Attorneys and other advocates who become accredited will be listed on a national VA list, and are entitled to represent veterans in their claims for benefits, on a pro bono basis, and for attorney's fees on appeals, where they are available.

Registration is Free at PLI.

  • CLE Credit Comments: NY: 6 Professional Practice; 1 Ethics

Thanks to PBN Sponsors:

  • PLI
Pro Bono and legal aid attorney resources - Pro Bono Net

Volunteer Profile

Neil Steinkamp

Rebecca Berlow, a corporate attorney, has worked as a volunteer with The Legal Aid Society's Immigration Unit Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ("DACA") clinics and has assisted the Society with disaster relief efforts, greatly improving their Access to Benefits hotline by developing a new intake system. Learn more

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