Military veterans fighting the federal government for benefits have another avenue for potential legal help under a new Veterans Legal Assistance Foundation.
The fund will pay the legal bills for qualifying vets who can’t afford a lawyer, but want to go to court to fight decisions made by the Veterans Affairs Department or the veterans appeal board.
The foundation has received seed money through a $1 million endowment from two law firms that won a 2013 settlement against the federal government after a class action suit led by veteran Dennis Manuge. The settlement was worth more than $900 million and the law firms that fought the seven-year case were awarded approximately $35 million.
Peter Stoffer, the former New Democrat MP and veterans affairs critic who lost his Nova Scotia seat in the October election, will sit on the board of the foundation. Stoffer says many veterans simply give up the fight for benefits, because the legal and medical bills often add up to more than the benefits are worth.
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