LEGAL AID LAUNCHES ONLINE TOOL TO HELP VETERANS ACCESS BENEFITS

LEGAL AID LAUNCHES ONLINE TOOL TO HELP VETERANS ACCESS BENEFITS

 Louisville, KY—The Legal Aid Society has launched an online, interactive tool designed for low-income veterans as they apply for VA benefits, such as pension and service-connected disability.

The Department of Veterans Affairs processes more than one million claims annually. It can take the VA more than eight months to review and process the average claim.  For low-income veterans, this delay in an award of disability or pension benefits stresses the household budget.

The Legal Aid Society’s tool guides veterans through the benefits application process in a manner intended to focus their answers and, in turn, help them submit a more complete application.  It alerts users to information that must be supplied in order for the VA to timely process the claim and award benefits. At the conclusion of the interview, users may print drafts of their forms and a checklist of suggested supporting documents.

The tool was developed for veterans to complete in coordination with a representative accredited by the VA.  In fact, Legal Aid encourages all users to have their draft applications and exhibits reviewed by an accredited representative before submission.  By using this tool and consulting with an accredited representative, veterans will be able to submit more complete applications and reduce the risk of a need for a supplemental submission or for an appeal if the initial claim is denied.

Two versions of the tool are available:  one version may be used by any veteran; the other helps veterans living in Kentucky find state-specific resources to assist in completing the application form.  The tool may be found on Kentucky’s statewide legal aid website at http://www.kyjustice.org/veterans-interview.

“We are grateful to the Legal Services Corporation for providing generous funding for this project,” said Jeffrey A. Been, Executive Director of the Legal Aid Society.  “Our local Legal Aid Society has been a national leader in developing innovative ways to reach out to our veterans community for the past five years.  Whether it’s been through our Kentucky Corps of Advocates for Veterans, a series of legal clinics tailored just for veterans, or most recently, our work with the Jefferson County Veterans Treatment Court, it is important our work continues to honor the veterans who have given so much to our community.”

The mission of the Legal Aid Society is to pursue justice for people in poverty.  Legal Aid provides free legal services to low-income families and individuals facing serious threats to their physical and economic well-being.  Those assisted include the elderly, children, victims of domestic violence, and other vulnerable groups.  To learn more visit, www.laslou.org.

 

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