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 Megan Bishop 3L and Heather Werner 3L
Posted by Jessica Marsden on Thu. September 21, 2017 1:50 PM
Veterans Legal Assistance Project