Removing Legal Barriers to Recovery
CVLC’s core program helps veterans recovering from homelessness and mental illness overcome legal barriers to recovery. Common issues include evictions, foreclosures, consumer debt collections, divorce and child support, VA and Social Security income, criminal pardons, and tax issues. CVLC thanks the hundreds of volunteer attorneys and paralegals across the state who volunteer every year to represent veterans in half of the legal issues CVLC staff identify. Read more about the volunteers who make CVLC’s work possible in our Volunteer Newsletter.
Military Records Corrections
Most soldiers receive an “honorable” discharge when they leave military service. A classification that is not “honorable” often prevents a veteran from receiving VA educational, medical or pension benefits and may limit his or her civilian employment options. For some soldiers, this characterization can be a result of actions symptomatic of PTSD or traumatic brain injuries, meaning the VA may turn away the soldiers most in need.
CVLC assists veterans seeking to modify their military records to upgrade the characterization of their service or to change the narrative reason for separation (for example personality disorder or drug use.) CVLC also provides training to volunteer attorneys at corporations and law firms interested in assisting veterans in applying for record correction. For more information on training opportunities please contact Staff Attorney Cindy Johnson and review our Discharge Upgrades Manual.
Advocacy and Education
CVLC strives to improve and reform the systems that veterans rely on. CVLC’s Advocacy and Education includes:
CT Jail Diversion Legislation
Working with students from the Yale Law School Veterans Legal Services Clinic, CVLC changed Connecticut’s laws to provide veterans with more opportunities to receive treatment rather than jail time. The law, which went into effect this year, gives judges and lawyers in every courtroom in Connecticut the opportunity to help a veteran build a fulfilling and successful civilian life after military service. Click here to read more about CVLC’s Jail Diversion Law or read the text here.
Demanding Justice for Victims of Military Sexual Trauma
CVLC’s Executive Director Margaret Middleton asked members of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee to reform the VA’s broken compensation system to better care for victims of sexual assault in the military. Read a transcript of the testimony or news coverage about the testimony.
Establishing Best Practices
CVLC’s Staff Attorney Cathy Wong published a paper describing how CVLC’s unique collaboration with the VA CT Errera Community Care Center allows the most vulnerable veterans reliable access to quality legal assistance. The CVLC staff is happy to assist public interest lawyers and veterans service programs across the country who contact CVLC for advice and guidance on starting a legal services program to serve homeless veterans in their communities. For more information, please contact CVLC Executive Director Margaret Middleton at email@example.com.