Back to top

Tiffany Kelley

2014, Equal Justice Works Fellowships, Tiffany Kelley

Tiffany Kelley

Name of Host Organization: National Veterans Legal Services Program
City, State: Washington, District of Columbia
Issue area: Veterans' Rights, Disability Rights
Sponsors: Raytheon Company, Kirkland & Ellis LLP

The Project

Tiffany worked to tackle the unmet legal needs of veterans who have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or other mental health conditions due to military sexual trauma (MST) by creating a national pro bono program to represent those veterans on their disability compensation claims before the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project
A large number of military personnel are survivors of sexual assaults committed by other service members. The most commonly diagnosed mental disorder for those who have experienced a sexual assault in the military is PTSD. Tragically, because many of these survivors were fearful of reporting the assaults while they were in service, many veterans who suffer from PTSD or other mental health conditions as a result of a military sexual assault face an exceptionally high hurdle in obtaining disability compensation and adequate treatment from the VA. These survivors can prevail on their VA claims if they secure an effective advocate who is able to take the time to thoroughly review all military medical and personnel records and develop the evidence needed to support their VA claims. Unfortunately, there is currently a severe shortage of expert pro bono representation available.