Contacts: November 10, 2009
Meagen Peden Agnew – Legal Aid - (502) 584-1254
Trey Pollard – Congressman Yarmuth – (502) 582-5129
Lisa Aug – KDVA - (502) 564-9203
Federal Funds Announced to Provide Legal Assistance to Low-Income Veterans
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov.
10, 2009)— Today, Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3), Kentucky Department of
Veterans Affairs Commissioner Ken Lucas, and representatives from the
“I am proud but not
During the grant application process, Congressman Yarmuth and Legal Aid worked together to secure the funding, with Congressman Yarmuth calling on the LSC to support Legal Aid’s request.
“Those who fought to
protect our rights should never be left without the resources to secure their
own,” said Congressman Yarmuth. “I’m proud to have helped Legal Aid with this
grant and will continue to work to ensure
“It’s ironic and
unacceptable that the veterans who most need legal help are those least able to
afford it,” said Ken Lucas, Commissioner of the KDVA. “This grant is a
critical component of
“That’s where Legal
Aid hopes to step in,” said Jeffrey Been, Executive Director of
Veterans face a broad range of legal concerns. Many are similar to those of average citizens and encompass family, housing, consumer, probate, wills, guardianship and bankruptcy law. By expanding Kentucky Online Self Help Assistant (KOSHA) technology, Legal Aid will develop guided interviews to specifically fit the legal needs of veterans. The project will also connect veterans to existing online resources that are available from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as Veterans Service Organizations and nonprofit groups like the National Veterans Legal Services Program.
Veterans also have legal needs that are exclusive to their time in service, including a need for information relating to the availability of benefits and assistance in navigating the complex structure of benefits claims and appeals.
“KDVA and veterans organizations do tremendous work pursuing disability benefits for veterans, but still nearly a third of veterans receiving benefits go unrepresented, often losing out on thousands of dollars per year in eligible benefits. Through partnering with the KDVA and veterans organizations, we hope to close that gap and get veterans the assistance they deserve,” said Marc Theriault, attorney and project manager at Legal Aid.
The mission of the
The Legal Services Corporation is the single largest provider of civil legal aid for low-income people in the nation. Established by Congress in 1974, LSC operates as a private, nonprofit corporation that promotes equal access to justice and provides grants for high-quality civil legal assistance to low-income Americans. LSC distributes more than 95 percent of its total funding to 137 independent nonprofit legal aid programs with 918 offices that provide legal assistance to low-income individuals and families in every congressional district.