See Credit Details Below
IMPORTANT! If you get accredited by the VA before you attend this training, the last three hours will satisfy the VA’s CLE requirement.
1. Attorneys and other advocates must be accredited to practice before the VA. To obtain attorney accreditation you must complete this form: https://wms.pli.edu/Product/www.va.gov/vaforms/va/pdf/VA21a.pdf.
2. Accreditation by the VA may take several weeks, so do not delay filing your application. You can speed up the process by emailing the form to OGCAccreditationMailbox@va.gov.
3. Within 12 months after accreditation you are required to complete three hours of qualifying CLE. The afternoon session of this program satisfies that requirement, but only if you have already received your accreditation from the VA. If you have not received it, you should still watch this program, but keep in mind that you will need to complete three additional hours of CLE within 12 months after receiving your accreditation.
4. Attorneys and other advocates who become accredited will be listed on a national VA list, and are entitled to represent veterans in their initial claims for VA benefits on a pro bono basis, and on VA benefits appeals for attorney’s fees.
Why You Should Attend
There are approximately 18 million veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. Many of them are not aware of the benefits to which they are entitled. Medical, housing, and financial assistance are available to those who have served in the military, but many veterans most in need are not receiving assistance from the VA. Navigating the VA’s claims system and the Department of Defense’s discharge upgrade process is often difficult and complex. Attorneys with veterans law expertise play an essential role by:
- Representing veterans in the discharge upgrade process, and thus removing that barrier to benefits, employment, and social services.
- Developing evidence to “service-connect” their injuries or disabilities.
- Using current medical or mental health evidence to document the severity of symptoms for accurate disability ratings.
- Advocating for VA eligibility determinations for those given less-than-fully honorable discharges for minor disciplinary infractions consequent to Post- Traumatic Stress or Traumatic Brain Injury symptoms.
What You Will Learn
Nearly 45% of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan seek compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for service-related injuries; 30% of these veterans who file for VA benefits include claims for Post-Traumatic Stress. Many of those who should receive benefits will be denied. Many service members with less-than-honorable discharges who may be VA eligible are unaware of their legal right to pursue VA benefits, and of those who do apply, more than 90% will be denied. All of them will wait months or years for the VA to issue decisions on their claims. After completing this program, participants will be able to:
- Navigate the VA claims process.
- Become an effective advocate for veterans in need.
- This all-day program will provide an overview of military. discharge review law and VA disability law.
- The first two one-hour morning sessions will provide attorneys with an overview of military structure, and the tools that they need to assist veterans in upgrading their discharge status and removing stigmatizing information from their discharge documents.
- The third hour, Veteran Cultural Competency: Combat to Community will help veterans’ advocates to understand the challenges that veterans face in their transition to a noncombat community and provide tips on interviewing and providing legal services to veterans with disabilities.
- The three afternoon sessions provide the basics you need to represent veterans before the VA. The afternoon session fulfills the VA’s requirement for qualifying CLE within the first 12 months of your VA accreditation.
Who Should Attend
Attorneys seeking meaningful pro bono opportunities and any advocate who wants to help change the life of a veteran with a disability. Attorneys seeking to meet VA’s CLE requirements for new and continuing VA accreditation should also attend. Finally, attorneys who hope to expand their practice areas to include veterans’ cases where fees are available should register as well.
Special Feature(s): Scholarships are available to attend this program.
Program Level: All Levels
Prerequisites: An interest in honing your advocacy skills to assist veterans.
Advanced Preparation: None