News
1:36 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Why Miami's Health Rights Clinic Offers Veterans Free Legal Services

Credit Miami Herald

The Health Rights Clinic in the University of Miami’s School of Law offers free legal services to veterans. They help those who've been denied benefits they may be entitled to, like Social Security.

Ryan Foley, a pro bono attorney for the clinic, says the most common reason veterans are denied is that they have not been able to provide enough evidence to support their claims.

“That is why lawyers are so important to getting veterans the benefits they deserve,” says Foley.

Hosea Smith is a retired school bus driver and a veteran who's very familiar with the process. He stopped working after he got sick.

"I couldn't do no kind of work or pay bills -- I felt like less of a man, like I couldn't help my family," says Smith.

After being denied twice for benefits from Veterans Affairs, his doctor referred him to the Health Rights Clinic for help.

Noel Pace and Foley worked together on Smith's case. Pace is a third year law student as well as veteran.

They recently won his claim with the Social Security office and are now attempting to get him his VA disabilities benefits. This is after they linked his cancer to his time spent in the military. 

Pace says it is good for veterans to know that they will be taken care of after they can no longer work.

"It's really too bad that we have so many veterans in South Florida that are homeless or that have significant chronic health problems," says Pace.