Operation ESQ. – Honoring Their Service with Ours
Florida is home to over 1.6 million veterans with Central Florida seeing a significant number. Of those veterans, too many face economic, medical, and housing instability. The Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) provides disability compensation and other benefits to veterans who have injuries or illnesses that occurred or were aggravated while on active duty, resulting in some degree of disability. However, many veterans who are eligible and entitled to this compensation experience delays while the VA gathers evidence required to review and decide their claims. Unfortunately, many of those veterans’ claims are then erroneously denied. For many no-/low-income veterans, VA disability compensation is often an economically “make or break” situation.
Community Legal Services of Mid Florida (“CLSMF”) does not have the capacity to take every case that comes through our door; the CLSMF Veterans Advocacy Project’s Operation ESQ, “Honoring their Service with Ours” seeks to change that by increasing our ranks with private pro bono attorneys. Assisting veterans with their claims and appeals will have a far-reaching and powerful impact on a veteran’s life and socioeconomic stability. Operation ESQ will enable more no/low-income veterans to receive assistance from trained and dedicated attorneys. Often times the success of a veteran’s claim/appeal hinges on the involvement of an attorney.
Every pro bono opportunity is different. Many veterans simply need a roadmap to guide them through their legal issue, and an attorney may be able to assist them with a single phone call. Others need more in-depth representation. Operation ESQ pro bono attorneys can choose the level of assistance provided, and have no obligation to take a case. CLSMF will provide assistance to pro bono attorneys with the application for attorney accreditation, training on VA disability compensation law, and ongoing mentorship from our staff attorneys.
CLSMF’s Operation ESQ partners qualifying, local veterans with attorneys who are willing to assist on a pro bono basis. We invite you to contact CLSMF for more information. Here at CLSMF, we believe in honoring their service with ours. We hope you will join us in advocating for those who served and sacrificed.
VA ATTORNEY ACCREDITATION
In order to assist Veterans with claims, attorneys must complete an Application for Accreditation. Please use the links below for more information on accreditation and to apply.
General Homepage for Accreditation: http://www.va.gov/ogc/accreditation.asp
VA Attorney Accreditation Application: http://www.va.gov/vaforms/va/pdf/VA21a.pdf
To maintain your accreditation, VA requires you to complete at least a 3 hour CLE training. We strongly suggest you apply for accreditation as soon as possible.
If you are an attorney and would like to assist Central Florida veterans with a VA disability compensation claim(s) or appeal(s), please contact CLSMF Veterans Project Manager, Christie Bhageloe, via email at [email protected].