At Legal Services of the Hudson Valley (LSHV) we believe those who have served our country deserve equal access to justice and will fight for them as they have done so bravely for us. So, when Mark*, a combat veteran of the US Marines and a Native American member of the Mohawk tribe, contacted our offices for help, we ensured that his attorney was someone who understood and respected military culture.
During his time of service in the Persian Gulf war, Mark and his unit were exposed to the many toxins of a burn pit. A bit pit is a depression in the earth created by military troops to incinerate all waste- creating clouds of toxic fumes. Exposure to the burn pits caused Mark to suffer many ailments, including pervasive arthritis, migraines, neurological damage, and severe PTSD. As a result, the Department of Veterans Affairs rated him 100% disabled. Mark filed for Social Security Disability (SSD) to gain some financial support, but his claim was denied.
When Mark turned to LSHV for support, he was paired with Thomas Caruso, Veteran Staff Attorney. Thomas immediately applied for reconsideration of Mark’s SSD claim, which was subsequently denied. Thomas later requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to contest the decision.
In preparation for their court date, Thomas contacted Mark’s psychologist and obtained his latest medical records and a letter stating he was incapable of working at all. The addition of this supporting documentation helped Mark get approval for the much-needed SSD he’d hoped for. This additional income will make a significant positive impact on him and his family!
Our Veterans and Military Families Unit works holistically to protect veterans and their family members from homelessness, address barriers to employment, and gain or preserve economic stability. Click here to learn more: https://www.lshv.org/program/veterans-and-military-families-unit/
*Denotes name has been changed.