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Paul Schwen

2016, Equal Justice Works Fellowships, Paul Schwen

Paul Schwen

Name of Host Organization: National Veterans Legal Services Program
City, State: Washington, District of Columbia
Issue area: Veterans' Rights
Sponsors: Northrop Grumman Corporation, Covington & Burling LLP

The Project

Provide legal services to disabled veterans whose appeal of an initial disability denials have been systemically delayed for years and help improve the VA appellate process currently in place.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has responded to the widely-publicized backlog of undecided disability claims by diverting resources from the VA claims appeals process. The result has created a backlog of undecided VA appeals that has grown to almost 150,000 pending appeals. The Board of Veterans' Appeals (BVA) has reported that the average length from the filing of an appeal to the BVA decision is 1,407 days.
The Right Person For This Project
Paul is the right person for the project because:
• As a veteran himself, Paul's passion is advocating for veterans' rights.
• He is uniquely positioned to assist veterans with pending appeals because of his knowledge of VA law learned during his previous work as a law clerk at the National Veterans Legal Services Program, an organization known for its expertise in veterans law.
• While serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, Paul gained experience that will help him lead throughout the project.