AUSTIN, Texas – There seems to be no shortage of challenges to overcome for those who have served in the U.S. military, but when the problem involves a legal issue, help is available for veterans in Texas.
The Texas Veterans Legal Assistance Project serves low-income veterans, stepping in to provide free legal help, including for family and employment issues and securing veterans benefits.
Tim Gasaway, the project’s managing attorney, says many Texas veterans need extra help in getting a handle on life’s problems.
“We have a pretty extensive outreach program,” he points out. “We cover the entire state of Texas.
“Our goal is to serve under served populations so we attempt to reach out to veterans across the state, particularly rural veterans who often don’t have any access to legal assistance or representation.”
Gasaway says the project provides attorneys at no charge to veterans, spouses, dependents and survivors whose household income is at or below 125 percent of the federal poverty line. He says the projects handles most cases in-house, but sometimes refer cases to attorneys near where the veteran lives, who agree to work without a fee.
Gasaway says the project provided help to more than 1,300 veterans last year.
“We handle family law, employment cases, housing cases, consumer protection cases, bankruptcy, probate, and Department of Veteran Affairs benefit applications for compensation benefits,” he states. “We also do military discharge upgrade applications.”
Gasaway says low-income veterans can face unique challenges with the legal system.
“Oftentimes, those people simply just don’t have access to legal assistance because they can’t afford an attorney,” he explains. “They don’t have the resources to pick up and travel to a distant city to meet with attorneys, and so we step in and provide assistance. ”
The project does not handle criminal cases. Gasaway says the program, part of the Texas Legal Services Center, receives the bulk of its funding from the Texas Access to Justice Foundation.
Veterans can contact the hotline at 1-800-622-2520.
Author: Mark Richardson, Public News Service – TX