- 21.8 million or 9.5% of the population are military veterans. (Source: U.S. Census 2009 American Community Survey)
- A third of veterans served during the Viet Nam era. The next highest period is Gulf War vets (18.7%), which includes all who served from August 2, 1990 to the present. (U.S. Census 2008 Abstract)
- Six states had a million or more veterans in 2006: California (2.2 million), Florida (1.7 million), Texas (1.7 million), New York (1.1 million), Pennsylvania (1.1 million) and Ohio (1 million). (U.S. Census 2008 Abstract)
- Alaska has the highest percentage of veterans, 16.2%. New York has the lowest, 7.9%. (U.S. Census)
- 17.4 million veterans (74%) voted in the 2004 presidential election, compared with 63 percent of nonveterans. (U.S. Census, Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2004)
Scope of Problem:
- VA predicts that by 2015 the claims backlog could increase to more than 2.5 million. (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/opinionshop/detail?entry_id=64633)
- DVA takes an average of 4 1/2 years to process veterans' disability benefits claims and appeals. VA estimates that veterans currently seeking disability beneifts wait an average of nearly 6 months for an initial decision on their claims. (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/opinionshp/detail?entry_id=64633)
- Some veterans' claims take as long as 10 years to reach a conclusion. (Veterans for Common Sense v. Nicholson 07-3758 N.D.-Calf; National Law Journal, law.com 9/26/07)
- When an attorney represents a veteran, the VA pays $6,225 more per year than to a veteran without representation. (VA Inspector General Report, 2005; National Law Journal/law.com, 9/26/07)
- The University of Detroit Mercy Law School is the only school in the nation with a Mobile Law Office.
- The three primary goals of our program are:
- Educating veterans of their rights under federal law and providing individualized legal counsel to obtain benefits.
- Educating attorneys around the country in Veterans Benefit Law to create a network of free assistance.
- Educating students by providing one-on-one contact with real clients with real cases
- The MLO has logged more than 100,000 miles counseling veterans in 25 states, Washington D.C. and San Juan Puerto Rico.