WEST HAVEN, CT—Stephen Zack, ABE’s President, said, “With the financial support of our insureds who generously donate their dividends from ABE-sponsored insurance, we are able to fund a diverse array of organizations and projects, including programs that ensure due process to veterans, such as Connecticut Veterans Legal Center (CVLC).”
More than 272,000 post‐9/11 veterans have received less than honorable discharges, often due to behavior that is symptomatic of hidden injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), addiction, depression, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and other invisible wounds.
Margaret Kuzma, the Director of Discharge Upgrade Practice at CVLC, said that, with this discharge status, these veterans are excluded from life-saving services and benefits provided to other veterans. Obtaining changes in discharge status is a highly specialized area of veterans’ law requiring training. We are grateful for the grant from the American Bar Endowment because it will allow us to develop on-demand training videos for lawyers across the country who want to represent veterans so they can receive the benefits they rightly deserve. Without legal help, fewer than 50% of these veterans prevail, with most claims denied for procedural reasons.”
Ms. Kuzma added that since receiving the grant, “we have already worked with our pro bono network to identify priority topics, including reviewing military documents, building a case, addressing discrimination, and Character of Discharge processes. We have also begun scheduling presenters and writing training scripts.”