Both national and state surveys consistently demonstrate that veterans have unmet legal needs. Our veterans regularly face civil legal challenges that threaten their safety, stability and financial security. They often struggle to access earned veterans benefits, secure housing, obtain healthcare and medical benefits, and resolve family issues. Ohio’s legal aids serve over 5,000 veterans annually and help them overcome these challenges to get back on the path to stable housing, health, and employment.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) serves as a hub for veterans’ services. Under the current law, the VA cannot directly fund civil legal services for veterans, one of their greatest needs. Additional funding through the VA will help Ohio’s legal aids serve more Ohio veterans.
Please reach out to your Congressperson and encourage them to support legislation that will permit the VA to directly fund legal services for veterans at risk of homelessness. This budget–neutral provision was included in the Legal Services for Homeless Veterans Act (H.R. 3749), which passed the U.S. House earlier this year and now awaits action by the Senate. The provision is also part of the Homeless Veterans Prevention Act (S. 980), which is pending in Senate committee.