Eleyse D’andrea

  • Hosted by William & Mary Law School’s Lewis B. Puller, Jr. Veterans Benefits Clinic
  • Sponsored by Hogan Lovells LLP, Lockheed Martin Corporation
  • Service location Williamsburg
  • Issue area Veterans' Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2016
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Eleyse works with host site attorneys to provide legal assistance to veterans and service members facing unfavorable separations or discharge characterizations.  She is creating a series of training materials to provide to the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps, pro bono attorneys, and other advocates that will provide a detailed review of applicable regulations related to separations and discharges, as well as the lifelong impact of unfavorable discharge characterizations on veterans.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project

Since 2001, over 100,000 veterans have been discharged under “Other than Honorable” or “Less than Honorable” conditions. These discharge characterizations bar veterans from receiving VA health and disability benefits as well as the GI Bill. Veterans often believe discharge upgrades are easily obtainable, but denial rates remain high across all service branches in large part due to veterans submitting incorrect or incomplete applications and failing to develop compelling cases with legal assistance.

Fellowship Highlights

In the past two years, Eleyse has:

  • Provided advice to 85 veterans through the clinic, bi-monthly Military Mondays Starbucks program, and the online certificate course
  • Recorded educational videos to serve as instruction regarding administrative and medical separations and discharge upgrade advocacy for students in the online certificate course
  • Established connections on both civilian and military fronts with people working in various aspects of military separations and discharge upgrades
  • Synthesized extensive research and knowledge learned through direct work on cases of inequitable administrative and medical separations requiring discharge upgrades to create a comprehensive set of educational training materials 
  • Developed a web-based training module on military separations and discharge upgrade advocacy

What’s Next

Now that the Fellowship is complete, Eleyse plans to:

  • Continue advocating for service members and veterans in the Hampton Roads area

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