Photo of Zach Outzen

Zach Outzen

  • Hosted by National Veterans Legal Services Program
  • Sponsored by Lavan-Harris Charitable Fund
  • Service location Washington, District of Columbia
  • Law school William & Mary School of Law
  • Issue area Disability Rights, Veterans' Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2022
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Zach (he/him/his) will create a national pro bono network to provide legal assistance for traumatically-injured military service members who are denied recovery benefits. He will engage in community lawyering and systemic advocacy to increase access to financial assistance for these service members.

Military service members recovering from traumatic injuries often incur significant financial expenses, requiring medical services, rehabilitation, and caregiving as they recover. Many turn to the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Program (TSGLI) for aid, which was established by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) to provide rapid, short-term financial assistance to these service members. However, applicants for TSGLI are frequently denied access to this benefit. Subsequently, traumatically injured service members are often left to pay for their recovery out of pocket, placing them at risk of incurring financial debt or falling into poverty.

Fellowship Plans

Through the National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP)’s Lawyers Serving Warriors® (LSW) program, Zach will create the first-of-its-kind national pro bono network for legal assistance with TSGLI claims and appeals. He will train pro bono attorneys on TSGLI claim representation, place claimants seeking assistance with these volunteers, and mentor pro bono advocates as they assist TSGLI claimants. Zach will also employ a community lawyering model to reach traumatically injured service members by conducting Know-Your-Rights presentations, developing educational resources on TSGLI applications, and hosting legal clinics for TSGLI claim assistance. He will also increase access to TSGLI benefits by using administrative and legislative avenues to engage in systemic advocacy.

Media

NVLSP Welcomes Jason Davidson 2023 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Celebrates Equal Justice Works Trio

Tips for Working with Veteran Clients

No veteran should face the threat of disabled poverty because they were traumatically injured during their service. As a second-generation American and family member to six Army veterans, I will fight to make sure our veterans receive every benefit that they have earned.

Zach Outzen /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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