“Honoring All Who Served” - Every November on Veterans Day we honor the sacrifices our nation's veterans have made fighting for the freedoms we enjoy every day. SLLS is honored to be trusted to fight for those who fought for us. Our Veterans and Innovative Projects Unit specializes in helping veterans who fall on hard times after their service ends to access civil legal aid to improve their lives. We are especially thankful during this season for our staff who have served our country as well. It takes a special commitment to justice for all to continue to serve the public after their military careers are over.
Thank you for your continued support in the battle for fairness!
SLLS Fights for Formerly Incarcerated Veteran
A combat veteran recently released from incarceration, sought legal help regarding an alleged overpayment of VA benefits. We coordinated a virtual conference with the veteran while he was incarcerated to get the process started. Prior to his incarceration, he received service-connected benefits for his post-traumatic stress disorder. The VA determined that this veteran was overpaid benefits, and upon his release, it garnished his full VA benefit check. This left him nothing to survive on. His SLLS attorney stepped in to assist with the overpayment and subsequent garnishment of benefits.
We contacted the Debt Management Center several times on this veteran’s behalf, and requested a cessation of the garnishment pursuant to new COVID-19 policies. SLLS prepared a written request that the agency cease garnishment and reimburse him previously taken compensation. We won the case and he was issued a refund check from the VA for $2,000. His benefits were also restored. He now has the financial stability to support successful reentry and to sustain himself during the pandemic.
SLLS Helps Veteran Finally Reach Stability
Mr. S. served in the U.S. Army for nearly a decade. Following his discharge, he had trouble readjusting to society. He had limited coping mechanisms stemming from an abusive childhood and the post-traumatic stress he suffered from his time of service. He wound up homeless for over 30 years and faced many medical issues, including getting shot twice and hospitalization for suicide attempts.
Mr. S' attorney developed his application for Social Security Disability benefits that had been initially denied. We then filed a request for an Administrative Law Judge hearing. His hearing was scheduled for the first week of May 2020 but due to COVID-19, the Social Security hearing office closed for all in-person hearings and Mr. S. was given the option of participating by phone hearing, but he did not have a phone. His attorney filed an on the record request for the judge to consider the medical evidence already submitted in our brief arguing the reasons that Mr. S. should be awarded disability. The request was granted and we won the case. In June 2020, Mr. S. was granted a back payment of $4,000 along with a monthly benefit amount of $783. With this award, Mr. S. now has a source of income and can maintain his housing, live a healthier life, and has peace of mind.
SLLS Outreach to Veterans in Terrebonne Parish
SLLS Staff Attorney Isobel Healy participated in the Houma VA Health Clinic "Stand Down" event to connect underserved veterans with wraparound services. SLLS has a special hotline just for veterans in need of legal assistance: Veterans Hotline:1-855-207-9429.
Ignite Action - Give Today with #225GIVES
A little goes a long way when we all give at once. There's still time to make your early 225GIVES gift. 225GIVES is a regional movement - show your Louisiana pride and give back in your community. If you give by December 1st, your impact will be DOUBLED! We have a generous donor ready to match your gift up to $5,000. Visit www.225gives.org/slls to donate today.