Legal Services

Legal Services Share This Page Share This Page Share This Page Share This Page Share This Page Share This Page

Swords’ Legal Team is unique in that it provides attorney representation and consultation to veterans of any era and discharge status. We help veterans access the benefits they have earned, avoid or escape homelessness, increase financial stability, and focus on long-term health and well-being.

Swords to Plowshares is one of the few organizations in the country that provides free attorney representation in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits and military discharge upgrade cases.

 

What We Know:

  • Every $1 we spend on the free legal services we provide for our veterans leverages $26 in direct VA benefits.
  • On average, compensation for a veteran represented by an agent, lawyer or veterans service officer was 144% higher than for a veteran who do not have representation, according to a 2005 report by the VA inspector general
  • Of the 2.6 million Post 9/11 veterans, nearly 35% suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and 20% experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Their VA cases are complex having an average of seven to nine separate medical conditions.
  • Without intervention, many young veterans will struggle with untreated mental and physical health issues, homelessness, and unemployment, as many of their Vietnam-era peers have.

Legal Assistance: Why It Matters
VA benefits are not automatic and many veterans are not aware of the benefits to which they are entitled. In addition, those veterans who did not receive fully honorable discharges may be ineligible for most VA benefits. By removing obstacles that prevent veterans from being eligible for or receiving the benefits they deserve, we play a key role in rebuilding the lives of veterans after their military service.

Applying for VA benefits is a confusing process; many veterans are unable to navigate the process alone. Proper legal assistance can mean the difference between no benefits and a lifetime of disability compensation and access to health care and other benefits.

Did you know?

  • 344,000 disability claims are backlogged at the VA.
  • Our clients have a 90% success rate for claims that come to resolution.
  • Veterans filing for first-time VA benefits claims wait an average of 618 days for a resolution.
  • You can help:

Please note: Swords to Plowshares only provides legal representation to low income and homeless veterans who reside in San Francisco.

To learn more or find out about our drop-in hours, please call our Legal Team at (415) 252-4788 or email us at legal@stp-sf.org.