CARBONDALE (WSIL) — With Veterans Day around the corner, SIU is announcing a new collaborative program aimed to help Illinois military veterans get their disability benefits.
Students and faculty from the SIU School of Law and SIU School of Medicine are working together as part of the Veterans Legal and Medical Partnership (VetLAMP).
VetLAMP will provide additional assistance to military veterans statewide who are utilizing the law school’s Veterans’ Legal Assistance Program to help appeal denials of Veterans Affairs disability benefit claims.
Third- and fourth-year medical school students, in collaboration with faculty, will review medical records for evidence to support service-related disability appeals. If there is a gap in the medical records, medical school faculty volunteers will advise students and, if needed, examine the veterans to complete missing information.
VetLAMP is believed to be one of the first, if not the first, law/medical school partnerships for veterans. At a Veterans Summit in Mount Vernon sponsored by the SIU System in September, interim system president and former dean of the medical school, Dr. J. Kevin Dorsey, discussed the potential for a partnership with Martin Parsons, a clinical assistant professor and director of the Veterans’ Legal Assistant Program.
They saw an opportunity to increase the legal program’s effectiveness by including the medical school and its students. The addition of the School of Medicine will likely get more physicians and psychiatrists involved for conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder, which tend to be underdiagnosed.
VetLAMP will be based at the SIU School of Law in Carbondale.
Veterans who are in need of help on disability claims or other legal issues should contact the Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network at 855-IL-AFLAN (855-452-3526).
The statewide hotline acts as a hub, and has attorneys available to provide information and initially discuss cases. If needed, VA disability claim issues are referred to SIU’s Veterans’ Legal Assistance Program.