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Justine Pelham

2014, Equal Justice Works Fellowships, Justine Pelham

Justine Pelham

City, State: New York, New York
Issue area: Veterans' Rights, Public Benefits/Welfare Reform
Sponsors: 21st Century Fox

The Project

Justine advocated for veterans who were improperly denied public benefits by running a weekly full service legal help-desk at the VA’s Brooklyn Healthcare Center and leading a network of law students that provided representation at administrative hearings.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project
The average wait in New York for veterans filing a Disability Compensation claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is 642 days. For low-income veterans with PTS this delay is harrowing. Securing public benefits is a crucial intermediary measure for veterans while they transition back into civilian life and await decisions on VA and Social Security claims. There are over 225,000 veterans in New York City alone and this population is growing. Without the safety net of Public Assistance, effective community reintegration becomes impossible as veterans face substantial difficulty accessing housing and treatment.