Legal Services

Swords to Plowshares is one of the few organizations in the country that provides free legal consultation and attorney representation to veterans seeking assistance with Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits and military discharge upgrade cases. Our attorneys play an essential role by helping veterans remove unjust legal barriers to VA benefits. Our services are targeted to address the needs of homeless and low-income veterans. All services are free of charge.

Our clients have a 90% success rate for claims that come to resolution. Every $1 we spend on the free legal services we provide for veterans leverages $26 in direct VA benefits.

Who Qualifies?

Swords to Plowshares’ attorneys only assist with VA benefits issues and discharge upgrades. All veterans are eligible for a free one-time consultation with our attorneys, regardless of discharge status, the era of service, or length of service.

Although we will meet with any veteran, we are limited to providing ongoing assistance beyond the one-time consultation to low-income and homeless San Francisco residents only.

If you, or someone you know, is in need of VA benefits and/or discharge upgrade assistance, please see information below about meeting with our attorneys.

VA Benefits and Related Issues

  • Service-connected disability compensation
  • Non-service-connected pension
  • Character of discharge applications for basic veteran eligibility
  • Medical care entitlement
  • Rating increases
  • Overpayment issues
  • Appeals

Military Discharge Review/Upgrade

  • Discharge upgrade applications
  • Requests for corrections to military records

How to Get Legal Help

San Francisco Drop-In Hours

      • VA benefits, including eligibility, and discharge upgrade assistance only
      • Every Tuesday at 1060 Howard St. in San Francisco. Sign-up is 9:30am to 10:00am.
      • All veterans are welcome to visit drop-in hours for one-time assistance. You do not need an appointment, but please note wait times may extend into the afternoon.
      • For additional questions, contact the Legal Unit at (415) 252-4788 or send an email to [email protected].

Oakland & Menlo Park Discharge Upgrade Clinics

      • Discharge Upgrade assistance only (not VA benefits)
      • Once a month at Swords’ Oakland Office and at the VA Menlo Park Division
      • All veterans are welcome to make an appointment for assistance on their discharge upgrade applications.
      • Please call our clinic intake line at (415) 798-8387. Leave a voicemail and we will call you back in 2-3 business days to schedule an appointment.

Resources for Veterans: Self-Help Guides

If you are a veteran seeking VA benefits, a discharge upgrade, or just need copies of your military records, our self-help materials may have the information you need.

Please review and download our Self-Help Guides.