May 26, 2018
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Lawyers to offer veterans free help with VA benefit applications

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff

AUGUSTA, Maine — A free legal clinic will be offered for veterans from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, at the Maine State Library, 230 State St., in Augusta.

Attorneys with the Maine Volunteer Lawyers Project will be available to help men and women with their Veterans Administration application or appeals. Veterans having difficulty applying for or appealing for the VA disability benefits they have earned do not need an appointment and can drop in.

Maine ranks third nationally in veterans per capita and many in Maine’s legal community have seen family and friends have difficulty accessing their earned benefits, according to a press release issued by the Volunteer Lawyers Project. These personal experiences have increased the number of attorneys and paralegals interested in providing free legal assistance to Maine’s veterans.

According to the Maine Women Veterans’ Commission, only 37 percent of men and 17 percent of women in Maine access their VA benefits, the press release said. This is despite an estimated one in nine veterans living in poverty.

Tom Marczak, regional organizer for the ABA’s Young Lawyer’s Division, has worked closely with the VLP to make sure attorneys are properly accredited and trained to participate in clinics. The Augusta clinic is modeled on a Portland clinic held Oct. 27, 2012, and the Project Salute Veteran Benefits Legal Aid Clinics that have taken place across the country since 2011. The Portland clinic provided information, advice and paperwork help to 20 of Maine’s veterans.

For information, call Rob Liscord at 400-3232.

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