Veterans' Legal Assistance Program
The Veterans’ Legal Assistance Program (“VLAP”) provides free legal assistance to Veterans in southern Illinois who cannot afford or do not have access to legal representation in the appeals of claims for compensation for service-connected disabilities, pension benefits, survivor benefits, and education benefits.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR LEGAL ASSISTANCE
The VLAP provides pro bono legal assistance to veterans in southern Illinois who cannot afford or do not have access to legal representation in the appeals of claims for compensation for service-connected disabilities; and petitions for the upgrade of other-than-honorable discharges for military members with post-traumatic stress (“PTSD”) or victims of military sexual assault (“MSA”).
The VLAP program also provides referral services for veterans with other civil legal challenges.
TYPES OF SERVICES NOT PROVIDED
The VLAP does not assist with filing initial claims for benefits. To receive assistance with filing an initial claim for benefits, contact the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs or a Veterans Service Organization, such as the American Legion, AMVETS, or the VFW.
FOR HELP WITH CIVIL LEGAL MATTERS
For assistance with civil legal matters like divorce, child custody, creditor/debtor issues, landlord-tenant problems, wills, etc. call the Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network and speak with an attorney. The hotline is staffed Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
WHO HANDLES THE CASES?
Veteran’s cases taken by the VLAP are assigned to second and third-year law students as part of their study of V.A. disability and benefits law and supervised by a licensed attorney.
CONTACTING US FOR SERVICES
For additional information or to request legal assistance with a V.A. compensation appeal or petition for a discharge upgrade, contact the VLAP at (618)453-8280, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.