Arizona Civil Legal Needs Community Survey

Civil legal organizations in Arizona are seeking your input to increase their ability to meet the civil legal needs of Arizona's lower income residents. Please complete this survey to assist in improving civil legal services in Arizona.

Encuesta de Necesidades Legales Civiles de Arizona

Las organizaciones legales civiles en Arizona buscan su opinión para aumentar su capacidad de satisfacer las necesidades legales civiles de los residentes de bajos ingresos de Arizona. Por favor complete esta encuesta para ayudar a mejorar los servicios legales civiles en Arizona.

Work

Veterans Consortium Pro Bono and Discharge Upgrade Programs

What is the Veterans Consortium?

The Veterans Consortium provides free legal services to veterans.

The Veterans Consortium is 
made up of four national organizations that provide services and resources for veterans:

What is the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program?

The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program is a national nonprofit organization funded by the U.S. Congress.

asset-610.png

The Pro Bono Program connects veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors in need with specially trained volunteer attorneys who may advise and represent them for free when they have been unjustly denied benefits or compensation earned during military service.

The three matters that they assist with are:
  • Appealing for veterans' benefits, 
  • Discharge upgrades, and 
  • Applying for United States citizenship through service. 

Appeals for Veterans Claims

When a veteran, family member, survivor, or caregiver applies for VA benefits and their request is denied, the person who applied may appeal their request. Appeals are heard at the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

asset-807.png

Individuals are not required to have an attorney, but they are required to follow the court rules and procedures when appealing a VA decision. Court rules can be complicated and hard to navigate without an attorney to help. Apply with the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program to get help.

What is the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims?

The U.S Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) reviews decisions of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA). It is the only court; it has exclusive national jurisdiction and is not a part of the VA.

asset-624.png

While the BVA is part of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), the CAVC is an independent federal court. The BVA no longer provides the final decision in a veteran’s claim for benefits or compensation earned from military service, because BVA denials may be appealed to the CAVC.

Who qualifies for the Pro Bono Veterans’ Claims Appeals Program?

To qualify for the program, the person must be a veteran or a relative, caregiver, or survivor of a veteran whose VA claim has been denied by the BVA and they want to appeal the decision, then they may qualify to receive an attorney to represent them for free at the CAVC.

asset-595.png

To receive the free legal services of an attorney in an appeal to the CAVC, they must: 

  • Be a veteran, family member, caregiver, or survivor of a veteran, 
  • Have had a VA claim was denied by the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, 
  • Not have an attorney to help, 
  • Have a low-income, and 
  • Have a case that contains at least one issue that could be argued in their favor. 

Important:   If someone wants to appeal a BVA denial, they must do so within 120 days (about 4 months) of the mailing date of the BVA’s decision. 

Extensions of this deadline are only granted due to rare circumstances (Example: extended hospitalization), so it is strongly recommended that anyone who wants to appeal a BVA denial of their VA claim should do so as quickly as possible. 

Why is it helpful to be represented by an attorney?

Although the person appealing the VA claim does not need to be represented by an attorney, having an attorney is helpful because an attorney: will not only already know the rules and procedures that govern appeals to the CAVC but also will be able to:

  • Knows the rules and procedures to govern appeals, 
  • Communicates with CAVC staff, 
  • Negotiates with VA attorneys and staff, 
  • Prepares and files all paperwork, and 
  • May ask for and conduct oral argument (if appropriate) 
asset-798.png

How may someone apply for the Pro Bono Program?

Applications for the Pro Bono Program are completed in one of two ways: 

  • An online application.
  • By downloading, printing, completing, then submitting a set of application forms by fax, email, or mail.

What if the Pro Bono Program is unable to assist me?

If the Pro Bono Program is unable to assist someone because it is unable to determine if the case contains at least one possible issue that can be argued in their  favor, they  will still be invited to contact the Program’s Helpline at (855) 446-9678 if they  have questions about the CAVC’s processes and procedures and/or need assistance with their  paperwork.

asset-467.png

To learn more about and/or apply for the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program, please click here:or call (202) 628-8164 or (888) 838-7727 (toll-free).

Discharge Upgrade Program

What is the Veterans Consortium Discharge Upgrade Pro Bono Program?

The Veterans Consortium Discharge Upgrade Pro Bono Program provides legal support and representation to veterans with discharge upgrade appeals. These matters are heard by their service’s Discharge Review Board. 
asset-627.png
For more information on upgrading a military discharge, click here.

Who qualifies for the Discharge Upgrade Pro Bono Program?

To receive the free legal services of an attorney in a discharge upgrade appeal, the veteran must: 

  • Have been discharged under conditions Other than Honorable (OTH) or Undesirable, 
  • Have been diagnosed with or exhibit symptoms of PTSD, TBI, MST, or another mental health condition, and 
  • have a case that contains at least one meritorious/viable issue that may be argued in their favor 
asset-585.png
You can find more information on types of military discharge here

How does a person apply for the Discharge Upgrade Program?

To apply for the services of the Discharge Upgrade Pro Bono Program, applicants must complete the Discharge Upgrade Program Intake form. The intake form asks for information concerning the applicant’s contact information, military service, and mental health status. Individuals will need a copy of their DD-214 and other documents to support their claims.

Individuals may apply online here.

Individuals may also apply via mail, email, phone, or fax: 

  1. Download the intake form,
  2. Print it out,
  3. Fill it out,
  4. Submit the form. Mailing Address: 

The Veterans Consortium 
Discharge Upgrade Program 
2101 L Street NW, Suite 840 
Washington, DC 20037 
Phone: (202) 733-3324 
Fax: (202) 628-8169 

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

asset-583.png
asset-597.png

To learn more about and/or apply for the Veterans Consortium Discharge Upgrade Program, please click here: or call (202) 733-3324.

Veterans Naturalization Assistance Program

Veterans who are not United States Citizens, but would like to apply for citizenship, the Veterans Consortium Veterans Naturalization Assistance Program may be able to help. Those that meet the following criteria are eligible: 

  • Active-duty service members, 
  • Received an Honorable or General Under Honorable Conditions Discharge, and 
  • Have a copy of their DD-214 

How does someone apply or qualify for the Veterans Naturalization Assistance Program? 

Those that may qualify for the program can contact the Veterans Consortium at (202) 733-3337 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

asset-509.png

This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state-to-state or county-to-county, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your situation. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your jurisdiction.

Privacy Policy | Terms of Use