Yesterday I covered a resource focused on servicemembers, veterans, and surviving spouses who need legal assistance with their disability claims. Today, I’m going to discuss a resource that covers a broader scope of legal concerns for servicemembers and veterans, including education, deployment planning, and homeownership.
Stateside Legal is a compilation of military and veteran-related legal information into a virtual library of sorts. The project was primarily created by two state-based organizations, Pine Tree Legal Assistance of Maine and the Arkansas Legal Services Partnership, which provide legal assistance to low income individuals in their respective states, with initial funding provided by the Legal Services Corporation. The goal of the project, according to the site, is to make the information available and easy-to-use.
The information is organized by topic, from “Benefits” to “Estate Planning.” Each topic covers a variety of issues related to that area. The amount and type of information available in each area varies, but many include a brief explanation, commonly asked questions, sample forms, and/or links to other resources that can provide further details. A few examples that seem particularly useful:
- “Student Loan Discharge or Forgiveness and Military Service” – which gives an overview of how veterans rated at 100% by VA may be able to get some of their student loans forgiven
- “Unemployment Compensation for Spouses who Quit Work Because of Military Spouse Transfers” – which details which states have rules that will allow spouses to collect unemployment due to a spouse’s PCS
- “Interactive Form – Response to VA Notice of Request for Benefit Apportionment” – which outlines garnishment of VA benefits and why a VA apportionment may prevent a veteran from getting credit for paying debts
The information is very useful in pointing servicemembers and veterans in a basic direction. However, reading a brief summary isn’t a substitute for actual legal advice. Which is likely why, in addition to this information, Stateside Legal also has a database of local free legal assistance across the country. The database is searchable by state, zip code, or by type of aid (JAG, civil legal aid, veterans affairs, etc). The search provides the name of the law firm providing the free legal services and their contact information.
Stateside Legal also has a section for law professionals looking to get certified in VA advocacy, “Jim’s Mailbag,” where veterans’ advocate Jim Strickland answers questions for those appealing or considering appealing VA claims’ rulings, and links to blogs run by other veterans advocates. You can check out Stateside Legal for yourself here.
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