Legal Services for Both Active and Retired Military
Veteran’s Benefits & V.A. Claims
If you clicked on the link to this page there is a high probability that you are a veteran or friend or family member of a veteran. Similarly, the fact that you are considering hiring an attorney means that either you or veteran you know is experiencing some kind of legal related issue. The primary purpose of this web page is to discuss and provide contact information to veterans pursuing disability claims through the VA; however, if you experiencing other service related issues or need to discuss an issue unrelated to VA claims I encourage you to call or stop by.
In regards to pursuing disability claims, it is not going to be an easy, fun, or fast process. It is immensely important to try to get the initial application correct, because the necessity of an appeal will only make things more complicated, and take even longer to complete. There are few things that you should know and prepare for in advance of starting your application:
1.No one should be charging you for assistance with filling out an initial application;
2. You need to have your DD 214;
3.Gather documents relating to the service related injury you received;
4.Consider talking to the VA or an attorney (or both) before you file the claim. Neither the VA nor an attorney should be charging you for assistance with the claim.
5.If your initial claim is turned down, DON’T GIVE UP, appeal.
If intend to file a VA claim or want to pursue an appeal, or just want to discuss the facts with an attorney, please contact us by phone, email, or in person to discuss or schedule an appointment.
Courts Martial & Administrative Separations
If you are Servicemember facing a court-martial or other punitive or administrative action, or fear that you may in the near future, the most important thing you can do is talk to an attorney as soon as possible. If you talk to anyone else, including you commander, your friends, CID, the MPs, or local police, anything you say can be used against you, and likely will be.
UNLESS YOU ARE TALKING TO YOUR ATTORNEY, YOU SHOULD NOT BE TALKING
There are many attorneys in the civilian sector that supplement their income by representing Servicemembers in military courts, and some are very skilled; however, for many Servicemembers the ability to hire a civilian attorney is cost prohibitive. All Servicemembers should be aware that there are other options available when it comes to protecting their rights that are as good, and perhaps superior to the civilian counsel option.
Each of the service branches have attorneys who are assigned as Defense Counsel, and these attorneys are duty bound to serve the interest of their clients, NOT THE COMMAND. Often the attorneys assigned to work as Defense Counsel are the best trained, the most experienced, and the most dedicated the service has to offer. Military Defense Counsel can provide Servicemembers with extremely effective representation during courts-martial, administrative separations, and non-judicial punishment, and this representation comes at NO COST TO THE SERVICEMEMBER. At Capital Law we will always ask if you have at least considered this option and discuss its possible benefits prior to accepting representation.
That being said, there may be times when Servicemembers do not feel comfortable with military counsel, or simply want to seek the opinion of someone outside of the military. While Capital Law does support and have strong ties to the military, such ties never get in the way of serving the needs of Servicemember clients or potential clients.
If you are facing a court-martial, administrative separation, non-judicial punishment, or other problems and want to speak to an attorney for a no-cost consultation and case evaluation, simply click on the link at the bottom of the page and chose a method to make contact with which you are most comfortable.
Discharge Review / Upgrading Characterization of Discharge
No one volunteers for military service with the expectation of one day being adversely separated or receiving a less than “Honorable” characterization of service. Unfortunately, life rarely goes as planned, people and situations can change, mistakes can happen, and misconduct can be alleged. Due to the high responsibility and demands placed on the military and its leaders, the military environment is not very forgiving of mistakes or misconduct. Sometimes in the rush to maintain good order and discipline, the military can make mistakes in its efforts to separate a Servicemember, or can overlook facts that may have been extremely pertinent to the characterization of discharge.
Receiving less than an “Honorable” discharge from military service can have severely negative impacts on one life. For some individuals these impacts may not be entirely evident at the time of separation, but may pop years afterward when applying for certain jobs, trying to take advantage of certain state offered opportunities, or seeking veteran’s benefits. Although there is no guarantee of success, former Servicemembers can attempt to upgrade less than “Honorable” discharges through official military channels.
Discharge Review Boards. The Army, Navy, and Airforce maintain Discharge Review Boards (DRBs), which have the authority to examine administrative discharges based on the standards of equity and propriety, and the authority to upgrade a discharge when the circumstances warrant. However, there are limitations and exceptions, if you received a discharge or dismissal by a general court-martial or were discharged more than 15 years ago, Discharge Review Boards lack the authority to provide relief. Additionally, there are other limitations, exceptions, and rules with which applicants should become familiar prior to applying.
Board of Correction of Military Records. Issues which cannot be brought before or addressed by Discharge Review Boards, may be subject to review by the Board of Correction of Military Records for each respective branch. These Boards are the highest level of administrative review within the Army, Navy, and Airforce, and are charged with the responsibility of correcting errors and removing injustices from military records. As with DRBs, Boards of Corrections have limitations, exceptions, and rules with which applicants should become familiar prior to applying.
While individuals may seek to upgrade military discharges without the aid of legal counsel, attorney assistance may be advantageous for applicants. Applicants should also be aware that certain veteran’s organization may be able to provide free or reduced cost legal assistance to applicants.
If you would like to discuss your situation or the possibility of seeking an upgrade with Capital Law staff, simply click the link below for a free consultation and case evaluation.
Provided below are links to the Discharge Review Boards and Boards of Corrections for each branch.