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Danica Gonzalves

2017, Equal Justice Works Fellowships, Danica Gonzalves

Danica Gonzalves

Name of Host Organization: The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program
City, State: Washington, District of Columbia
Issue area: Veterans' Rights
Sponsors: AT&T, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

The Project

Provide legal help to veterans wrongly given Other Than Honorable discharges due to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or Traumatic Brain Injury, to get medical treatment and disability pay they deserve.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project
Veterans, our nation’s defenders, deserve the benefits they were promised and the best legal services, at no charge, to meet their challenges and needs. Other Than Honorable discharges deprive veterans of VA and state benefits, limit job prospects, and damage reputations and self-esteem. The Discharge Upgrade Project will assist veterans in upgrading their discharges by uniting veterans with pro bono attorneys, enabling them to receive the benefits they were promised.
The Right Person For This Project

Danica is the right person for the project because:
• She is a vocal advocate for individuals with disabilities, especially invisible disabilities, and presents at conferences and events
• Her personal experiences with invisible disabilities brings compassion and understanding for this vulnerable population
• She comes from a family of veterans and is proud of their service

Plans For First Six Months of Fellowship

In the first six months, Danica will:
• Provide intake services to veterans and reach out to veteran service organizations to promote the Discharge Upgrade Project
• Develop training materials accessible by attorneys nationwide
• Work with medical legal partnerships to assess the need for medical documentation regarding PTSD and TBI
• Begin training pro bono attorneys and placing cases