The Veterans Advocacy Project
The Veterans Administration is so backlogged that more than 33,000 veterans are waiting for their claims to be processed at the St. Petersberg Veterans Administration (which processes most of the Central Florida claims for veterans) and veterans can expect to wait an average of one year for a decision. Even when they get a decision, many claims filed are likely to be denied and 28 percent of those denials will be erroneous.
Veterans find the help that they need at CLSMF where our trained attorneys represent them before the Veterans Administration, and help cut through the red tape so that they can get the benefits they need. Our attorneys provide legal advice, counsel, referral, education, and representation to low-income veterans, free of charge, ensuring that the lives of those who have served our country are enriched as a result of legal assistance.
Services We Provide
Legal advice and representation including but not limited to:
• Filing claims and appeals with the Department of Veterans Affairs for disability compensation and/or pensions
• Filing appeals with United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
• Defending inappropriate discharge, discharge characterization or disability rating
• Applying for dependent and survivor benefits
• Accessing other public benefits such as unemployment, Social Security, disability and food stamps, etc.
• Access to healthcare and mental health resources
• Filing claims with Veterans Affairs for increased disability ratings.
CLSMF’ Medical-Legal Partnership with the Viera VA to provide services to veterans in that area. Click here to learn more.
Operation ESQ. is a CLSMF project which enables more no/low-income veterans to receive assistance from trained and dedicated attorneys. Click here for more information.
Who is Eligible?
Low-income Veterans and their family members, who reside in Brevard, Citrus, Flagler, Hernando, Lake, Marion, Orange, Osceola, Putnam, Seminole, Sumter and Volusia counties and are in need of legal assistance.
Are you a justice involved veteran?
CLSMF Veterans Advocacy Project and the Office of the Public Defender’s, 9th Circuit have partnered to provide a new resource for veterans in Central Florida. A website dedicated to maintaining the most up-to-date information regarding veteran issues is a useful tool for those seeking help but do not yet know where to begin. With her extensive experience representing veterans who face an assortment of issues, CLSMF Veterans Advocacy Program Manager Christie Bhageloe, offers content to guide veterans seeking assistance. This growing partnership between CLSMF and Public Defender’s Office hopes to better serve or veterans using a holistic approach to getting them what they need for a stable integration to civilian life.
Check out the Salute Vets website: http://www.salutevets.com/
Chirstie Bhageloe’s contribution to veterans resources: http://www.salutevets.com/christie-bhageloe/
Download the CLSMF Veterans Advocacy Project brochure
The Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text. Veterans and their loved ones can visit the Veterans Crisis Line website, call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Support for deaf and hard of hearing individuals is available.
Military OneSource is provided by the Department of Defense at no cost to active-duty, National Guard and reserve service members (regardless of activation status), and their families. It is a virtual extension of installation services. Visit Military OneSource today or call 800-342-9647.
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