George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School

M-VETS Prevails and Secures Service-Connected Medical Separation for Army Veteran

The Mason Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic (M-VETS) successfully argued a claim before the Board for Correction of Military Records (BCMR) seeking a service-connected medical separation for a United States Army Reserve (USAR) veteran. M-VETS filed the claim on behalf of the veteran in 2021 and recently secured a service-connected medical separation, allowing the veteran to access long-overdue Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) housing benefits.

The veteran served honorably in the USAR from 2001 through 2005; however, the veteran suffered an injury during service, which led to the veteran’s discharge. Without justification and through no fault of her own, the veteran was separated from the USAR for a medical condition deemed not to be service-connected. This discharge classification prevented the veteran from accessing her housing benefits and did not accurately reflect her situation.

M-VETS Director Timothy M. MacArthur stated: “Thankfully, the veteran reached out to M-VETS for assistance, and we are glad we could correct this injustice. Unfortunately, the separation authority made a clear error in judgment regarding the reason for separation. Since 2005, the veteran has not been eligible for DVA housing benefits due to the inaccurate discharge. The veteran found this out when she applied for a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) for a DVA home loan, which was denied. Our client served honorably in the Army and was injured during her service, and to correct this injustice was a fantastic result. We have been working on this matter since 2018, and unfortunately, it took this long to correct this error. However, once our client had her records corrected by the BCMR, she applied again for a COE and obtained it the following day!”

“Thank you so much for your help and all the work you and your team have done on my behalf!” said the veteran.

Due to the lengthy process involved in litigating this issue, many M-VETS student advisors (SAs) worked diligently on this matter while in the clinic. MacArthur emphasized the contributions of the SAs who worked on this matter: “A significant amount of hard work went into this effort, and I want to thank the M-VETS SAs who handled this matter (Tyler Whidby, Allison Hemmer, and Jonathan Moeller) and made this outcome possible for our veteran.”

M-VETS assists veterans, Servicemembers, and their dependents in a variety of civil matters, including uncontested divorces, landlord/tenant matters, consumer protection, and contract disputes, as well as in military/DVA administrative matters, including MEB/PEBs, Discharge Upgrades, Boards for Correction of Military Records, and DVA disability compensation and education appeals.