Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General
202 North Ninth Street
For media inquiries only, contact:
Lara Sisselman, Press Secretary
ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING'S "VIRIGINIA MILITARY AND VETERAN LEGAL RESOURCE GUIDE" NOW AVAILABLE AT ALL VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS SERVICES OFFICES
~ Newly launched Guide helps meet the unique legal needs of Virginia servicemembers, military families, and veterans, and helps Virginia's military/veteran community better utilize the protections afforded to them by state and federal law~
RICHMOND (August 28, 2017) - Attorney General Mark R. Herring's newly launched Virginia Military and Veteran Legal Resource Guide is now available at all Department of Veterans Services offices across the Commonwealth. The guide is a new tool to help Virginia servicemembers, military families, and veterans utilize the unique legal protections, rights, and resources available to them under the law. Volunteer attorneys from the Office of Attorney General spent more than a year developing the new guide, which is available at www.VaMilGuide.com.
"The Virginia Military and Veteran Legal Resource guide helps servicemembers, military families, and veterans understand the many unique rights and protections afforded to them by state and federal law, and connects them with resources that can assist them when they have legal needs," said Attorney General Mark Herring. "The Department of Veterans Services provides invaluable support to our veterans across the Commonwealth, and I'm glad our guides will be available at all DVS offices to make them more accessible for those in need."
"The Virginia Military and Veteran Legal Resource Guide complements the DVS Virginia Veteran Resource Guide by focusing on the unique legal needs of veterans and military service members in Virginia," said Thomas Herthel, Benefits Director for the Virginia Department of Veterans Services. "By rolling out this new tool, Virginia has once again demonstrated that it is the most veteran and military friendly state in the nation. DVS offers access to both of these important resources at www.dvs.virginia.gov."
The free 33-page guide covers areas of unique concern to active duty military, military families, and veterans, including:
- Including the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), pension and deferred compensation payments during military leave, continuing healthcare, and leave for military spouses and other family members
- Consumer Protections
- Including the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) which limits interest rates on loans, limits sale, foreclosure and seizure of homes, restricts repossession and eviction, and allows for the termination of certain leases
- Including the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children, re-enrollment rights at colleges and universities, and certain tuition discounts for servicemembers, their families, and veterans.
- Including deductions and exemptions for certain military pay, extensions on filing, and tax relief for disabled veterans and surviving spouses.
- Family Law
- Including legal protections to ensure proceedings are fair to a servicemember who may be called away for service and issues surrounding child custody and visitation
- Voting and Line of Duty Act
- Including programs to ensure easy access to the ballot for deployed service members and state benefits available to certain servicemembers killed or disabled in the line of duty.
- Access to Legal Services
- Including contact information for attorneys and other professionals to assist with benefits issues, criminal matters, family law, and estate planning, including Attorney General Herring's quarterly Veterans Legal Clinics.
Attorney General Herring has made the needs of Virginia servicemembers, military families, and veterans a priority in his administration. In his first year he signed the Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve statement and made the OAG a Virginia Values Veterans certified employer. In 2015, he and his team launched a series of quarterly pro bono legal clinics which have provided free estate planning services to nearly 200 veterans and family members during seven events around the state. The next is scheduled for October 25 in Lynchburg.
His reorganized Consumer Protection Section has also focused on the needs of veterans, winning nearly $100 million in debt relief for veterans, including $27.4 million for Virginia consumers, as part of a settlement with retailer USA Discounters. He partnered with the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the North Carolina Attorney General to bring legal action against Freedom Furniture, another retailer accused of deceptive and illegal business practices targeting military families and veterans.
The Virginia Military and Veteran Resource Guide was created using the expertise of in-house OAG attorneys, including Senior Assistant Attorney General Heather Hays Lockerman and Assistant Attorneys General James Flaherty, Anthony Bessette, Anna Birkenheier, Flora Hezel, Mark Kubiak, Elizabeth Myers, and Stephen Sovinsky.
The Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS) operates 28 benefit offices that assist military veterans and their families in filing claims for federal veterans benefits; two long-term care facilities offering in-patient skilled nursing care, Alzheimer's/memory care and short-term rehabilitative care for veterans; and three cemeteries that provide an honored final resting place for veterans and their families. DVS provides veterans and family members with direct linkages to services including behavioral healthcare, housing, employment, education and other programs. The Department also operates the Virginia War Memorial, the Commonwealth's monument to honor the memory and sacrifice of Virginia's men and women who served and fought to defend our way of life from World War II to the present. For more information, please visit www.dvs.virginia.gov.