Veterans Legal Assistance Project

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VLAP Students
Austin Backus 3L and Emon Northe 3L
On Friday, September 15, Carolina Law students in the Veterans Legal Assistance Project joined more than 80 other service providers at the Bull City Stand Down in Durham, N.C. VLAP students distributed information and counseled less-than-honorably-discharged veterans about how to apply to upgrade their discharge characterization.

The VLAP students had a chance to put into practice what they learned earlier this month at the Clinic Intensive Session about the effects of a less-than-fully honorable discharge from the military, sometimes called “bad paper.” Bad paper is a barrier to a wide array of benefits offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs: education, health care, disability compensation, home loans, and more. In addition, bad paper can be an obstacle to civilian employment.

The discharge upgrade process opens the door to these benefits when the Department of Defense grants a request to change the veteran’s character of discharge to “Honorable” or “General Under Honorable Conditions” – thereby qualifying the veteran for most or all VA benefits. But veterans must proactively apply for a discharge upgrade, and they have to persuade the Department of Defense that their discharge characterization was the product of either legal error or an injustice.

The VLAP students helped several veterans take the first step towards applying for a discharge upgrade by requesting copies of their military records from the appropriate service branch. Students also screened veterans for eligibility for the clinic’s services in the spring semester.

In addition to the team from Carolina Law, students from North Carolina Central University and Duke law schools were on hand to offer advice and services concerning other legal issues. Other service providers offered housing providers, dental check-ups, and even haircuts on-site at the National Guard Armory.

Veterans Legal Assistance Project Students
Veterans Legal Assistance Project Students Megan Bishop 3L and Heather Werner 3L

Posted by Jessica Marsden on Thu. September 21, 2017 1:50 PM
Categories: Veterans Legal Assistance Project
UNC School of Law | Van Hecke-Wettach Hall | 160 Ridge Road, CB #3380 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380 | 919.962.5106

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