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Veterans Law Clinic

Widener Law School

4601 Concord Pike

Wilmington, DE 19803

(302) 477-2090

NOTE: information on this site does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Veterans Law Clinic


Get Help | Veterans Law CLinic

” . . . to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan . . . ”

~ Abraham Lincoln

Helping Our Country’s Heroes

As a student-centered teaching clinic at Widener Law School, the Veterans Law Clinic is engaged in a number of projects focused on helping veterans, including pro bono representation of veterans seeking disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs, discharge characterization upgrades, our law school “clinic in a box” initiative, research about veterans treatment courts, our attorney locator program, and our “Veterans Law” online resource guide.

Through our pro bono legal aid program, we specialize in representing veterans in appealing their VA disability claims from the VA Regional Offices in Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland to the Washington-based Board of Veterans Appeals. We also take appeals from the Board of Veterans Appeals to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, a special U.S. court set up to supervise the VA compensation system. On occasion, we also take other kinds of cases related to veterans law, including VA pension cases, VA overpayment cases, discharge upgrades, and Federal Tort Claims Act cases. For veterans living beyond the upper Mid-Atlantic states, we have an attorney locator program to help you find an attorney in your area who might take your case. Legal services provided by the Veterans Law Clinic are free to eligible veterans and their dependents.

How the Veterans Law Clinic Can Help You With Your VA Claim

The Veterans Law Clinic does not compete with Veterans Service Organization (VSO), which often help veterans file initial VA disability claims for benefits at the Regional Office level. Instead, we help veterans after their VSO can take their case no further by appealing cases from the Regional Office to the Board of Veterans Appeals, the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, and beyond, if necessary. We also review previously denied claims to determine whether they can be re-opened based on either new and material evidence or clear and unmistakeable error.

Case Evaluation. If you have received a negative decision from a VA Regional Office, the Veterans Law Clinic can give you a good evaluation of your case before the 365 day time limit for filing a timely Notice of Disagreement expires. If you live in the upper Mid-Atlantic region and meet our income eligibility criteria, we may offer to represent you directly, or we may refer your case to someone in our network of pro bono attorneys. If you live outside the upper Mid-Atlantic region, we may still be able to refer you to a pro bono attorney near you. You can contact us to see whether we can help. Or, if you prefer, you can simply our download our Client Intake Letter, complete our Potential Client Intake Form, and send a completed intake form to us by email (help@veteranslawclinic.org), fax (302-477-2227), or U.S. postal mail (Veterans Law Clinic, Widener University School of Law, 4601 Concord Pike, Wilmington VA 19308).

You Decide. With good advice about the strength of your claim and the likelihood of success on appeal, you can decide whether you want to appeal your claim. The appeals process is time-consuming and can often take years before a case is finally resolved. If you decide to appeal, be prepared for a lengthy appeals process.

Free Representation. If we believe you have a good and meritorious claim under veterans’ benefits law and you meet our income eligibility criteria, we will offer to represent you or help you find a pro bono attorney willing to take your case. If we do represent you and you do not win before the Board of Veterans Appeals, we will take your appeal to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) and beyond, if necessary. Contact us to get started.

What to Do If the VA Turns Down Your Claim

If your local Regional Office has turned down your claim for disability compensation benefits, or awarded you less than you think you deserve, you have a few options.

You can accept the decision and abandon your claim. If you do nothing, the Regional Office’s denial will become final one year from the date it was issued. Your claim cannot be re-opened at a later time unless (a) you have new and material evidence in support of your claim, or (b) the Regional Office committed clear and unmistakeable error in initially evaluating your claim.

You can file an immediate request to re-open your claim. On your own or with the help of your local Veterans Service Organizations (VSO), you can gather additional evidence in support of your claim and file a re-opened claim with your Regional Office.

You can file a Notice of Disagreement and appeal your case to the Board of Veterans Appeals. If your claim has been denied, you have one year to file a Notice of Disagreement to appeal your case from the Regional Office to the Board of Veterans Appeals. If you are interested in appealing your case, you are welcome to contact us for a case evaluation.