Shortchanging Military Heroes: Millions Don’t Access the Benefits They Have Earned and Need

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Peter Kempner, co-chair of the New York Veterans Law Working Group — a group convened by Fordham Law’s Feerick Center for Social Justice — addresses the ongoing issues surrounding veteran benefits and how we can better ensure they access their due care. The group’s efforts focus on the civil justice gap impacting veterans.

The system is rife with delays, which all too often leave vets and their families in desperate financial straits as they wait for answers. And because of a lack of qualified advocates practicing veterans law, most end up fighting this battle on their own.

Our veterans deserve competent and experienced attorneys to help them.

According to a New York City Bar Association report published earlier this year, an estimated 24% of veterans nationally are receiving disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. In New York, that number is less than 17%. These statistics suggest that tens of thousands of veterans across the state aren’t getting the VA benefits to which they are entitled.

So, before another Veterans Day passes with far too many of our former service members continuing to struggle, we need our state’s leaders to address this significant problem. How do we ensure our veterans are able to access their rightful benefits? By establishing and meaningfully funding a Veterans Disability Advocacy Program, New York can make great strides towards that goal.

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