Recently, an honorably discharged Army veteran who was receiving assistance from a legal aid in an ongoing housing matter expressed concerns about benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The veteran was authorized to receive VA benefits, but because of his mental health issues and homelessness, he hadn’t been able to collect the monthly benefits or stabilize his life.

His legal aid lawyer spent time talking with him and learned that he had been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of trauma suffered while actively serving in the Army. The veteran’s legal aid lawyer gathered both the medical and military evidence necessary to prove the veteran’s medical condition and that his condition was directly related to his military service. She then helped the veteran supplement his application with a detailed affidavit describing the trauma and sent everything to the VA as part of a comprehensive claim.

Simultaneously, she connected the veteran with housing and medical support services for veterans. The VA subsequently approved his application and found him eligible for 100% service-connected benefits. This means that he now receives VA healthcare, which has meant that he is in consistent and supportive counseling. In addition to the monthly payment of $2,906, which is an annual income of $34,872, the veteran also received a lump sum back award of $49,000, for all of the months that he had been waiting for the VA to resolve his claim. As a result, the veteran is now living in safe and stable housing and receiving ongoing medical care. He is now also over-income for legal aid’s services.

Legal aids across Ohio daily help veterans address benefits, housing issues, medical care and consumer matters.