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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



The Veterans Law Clinic provides free legal representation to qualified veterans and their dependents with disability compensation benefit claims pending before the Department of Veterans Affairs. Since opening in 1997, we have represented hundreds of veterans in Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and surrounding states and helped recover more than $2 million in back benefits. We specialize in representing veterans’ cases on appeal to the Board of Veterans Appeals and the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. 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.

If you meet our income eligibility guidelines and believe you have may have meritorious case, you can contact us for a case evaluation. You can learn more about the scope of legal services provide below.

Our Legal Services

VA Disability Benefit Appeals

Veterans whose disability compensation claims have been turned down by a VA Regional Office (RO) may have good grounds to appeal to the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA) or the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC). We assist veterans in appealing meritorious claims from the RO’s rating decision to the BVA and beyond.

Discharge Characterization Upgrades

Veterans with discharges less than “honorable” may be denied VA benefits. Veterans may apply for discharge characterization upgrades through a Board of Correction of Military Records or Discharge Review Board. We assist veterans with strong cases in applying for discharge upgrades.

VA Overpayment Waivers

Veterans receiving a monthly compensation or pension payment from the VA may sometimes be paid too much money. Once the VA learns of an overpayment, the VA normally attempts to recover this money by deducting the overpaid amount from future VA payments. We represent veterans asking the VA for a waiver of these overpaid amounts.

VA Pensions

Veterans who served during a time of war and are (a) over 65 or (b) totally disabled may be eligible for a VA pension, a monthly payment intended to support the neediest veterans. Currently, the maximum annual pension rate is $12,256. We represent veterans who have been wrongly denied pension benefits. We also represent surviving spouses seeking a death pension benefits.

Section 1151 Claims

Veterans who have been disabled as a result of negligent VA medical care may be entitled to compensation benefits under 38 USC 1151. We represent veterans with Section 1151 claims by helping them collect necessary medical evidence, obtain expert opinions, and present their cases on appeal to the VA.

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) & Accrued Benefits

The surviving spouses of veterans whose death was linked to military service or who died while a claim was pending may be entitled to a variety of benefits, including DIC and accrued benefits. We represent surviving spouses of veterans with DIC and accrued benefit claims on appeal.

Federal Tort Claims Act

Under the Federal Tort Claims Act, veterans who are injured by a VA employee acting on behalf of the VA may obtain relief for any resulting pain, suffering, and economic loss. We guide veterans deciding whether to file an FTCA claim or a Section 1151 claim and, on occasion, represent veterans throughout their FTCA case.

Wills and Advanced Medical Directives

Several times a year we participate in events providing free wills and advanced medical directives to veterans located in the Delaware Valley region. We help clients assess their estate needs, draft basic wills for the disposition of personal property, and draft living wills and springing durable general powers of attorney for end-of-life situations.

Attorney Locator Program

Although we generally limit our representation to veterans living in Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland, we offer an “attorney locator service” to assist veterans in finding veterans attorneys outside of the upper Mid-Atlantic region. Unfortunately, the number of attorneys trained in veterans law is limited. For this reason, the Clinic is active in raising awareness of veterans issues and training attorneys how to represent a veteran before the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Advocate Training

In addition to representing veterans, we also conduct regular training for those interested in learning more about VA law. We welcome the opportunity to provide training to legal and non-legal advocates at law firms, corporations, public interest agencies, or veterans services organizations in the Delaware Valley region. We have also posted training materials online.