Federal News Radio posted its interview with ABA President Silkenat about the ABA’s new Veterans’ Claims Assistance Network (VCAN). In collaboration with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the ABA will provide attorneys with the opportunity to help veterans receive the disability benefits they earned and deserve. ABA VCAN will connect veterans in the VA backlog with the opportunity to work with volunteer attorneys who will help complete their claims packages for expedited review by the VA. Listen to the interview, and find further information on http://www.ABAVCAN.org.
An Air Force servicemember faced problems with his landlord. He received military orders for a permanent change of station (PCS) to another state, so the servicemember lawfully terminated his lease with his landlord under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). However, in violation of the SCRA, the landlord refused to return his security deposit and rent concessions, and the landlord informed the servicemember that they would pursue a claim for unpaid rent. The servicemember tried to resolve this matter with the landlord, but when he was unsuccessful, he visited a military legal assistance office about the problem. His JAG referred the case to the ABA Military Pro Bono Project, which located an attorney who volunteered to help and quickly resolved this issue between the servicemember and the landlord.
When a Marine was a teenager and a ward of the state, she became pregnant and gave birth to a child. She signed over physical custody of her child to her foster mother. After high school, she joined the Marine Corps—through which she established a stable career and housing—so she then had the means to care for her child. Both the Marine and the foster mother agreed to transfer custody. However, the Marine was stationed in another state, and they were unsure about how to proceed in court. The ABA Military Pro Bono Project located a volunteer attorney who was able to quickly help obtain the proper order to transfer custody to the Marine.
While a young Air Force servicemember was deployed in Afghanistan, his wife informed him that she wanted a divorce in Colorado. The stress that the servicemember was experiencing in Afghanistan was compounded by this situation, so he sought help to finalize the divorce. He visited a JAG in Afghanistan, who referred this case to the ABA Military Pro Bono Project, which located a volunteer attorney in Colorado to help. The attorney provided pro bono assistance to complete the divorce. The servicemember was then able to better focus on his mission in Afghanistan.
Volunteer attorney drafted Special Needs Trust for the disabled sister of a Marine scheduled to deploy
A Marine was scheduled to deploy to a combat zone. He named his disabled sister as his primary beneficiary in the event of his death in his will and Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance. However, the Marine needed pro bono assistance to draft a Special Needs Trust, so his disabled sister would not lose eligibility for public benefits, such as Supplement Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid, in the event of his death. The ABA Military Pro Bono Project located an attorney who volunteered to work with the Marine to draft a Special Needs Trust.
A Marine needed help with an uncontested custody matter involving her siblings. The young Marine’s parents found themselves in a very difficult financial situation, and the Marine was voluntarily appointed as the sole managing conservator of her siblings while their parents reestablished financial stability. After caring for her siblings for a couple of years, their parents regained financial footing and were ready to provide stable housing for their children. The Marine could not afford an attorney and she was uncertain about how to handle this transition pro se. She visited a military legal assistance attorney, who referred this case to the Military Pro Bono Project. The Project located a volunteer attorney who successfully helped the Marine obtain a court order to return custody to their parents.
Volunteer attorney helped establish guardianship so servicemember’s surviving children could benefit from SGLI funds
A Coast Guard member killed in a helicopter accident had named his two children as beneficiaries of his Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI) policy. However, the Office of Servicemembers Group Life Insurance could not release the funds to the servicemember’s former wife, who was raising the children, unless she was appointed as the children’s guardian. The Military Pro Bono Project connected the servicemember’s former wife with a volunteer attorney, who successfully helped her be appointed as the children’s guardian so that the funds could be used for the children’s benefit.