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Military & Veterans Affairs Legal Guide

Advocating for Veterans: Basic Principles of Veterans Benefits

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Advocating for Veterans: Basic Principles of Veterans Benefits

There are approximately 18 million veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces, many of whom are not aware of the benefits to which they are entitled for their service. You, as counsel and advocate to a veteran, play a key role in ensuring those benefits are utilized.

This course is designed for:

  • Attorneys seeking meaningful pro bono opportunities 
  • Advocates for veterans with disabilities
  • You, if you are considering expanding your practice to include veterans’ cases 
  • Attorneys with a personal interest in this subject matter

Applying for Veterans Pension Benefits: Eligibility, Planning Strategies, and Appealing Adverse Decisions
Colleen D. Bratkovich, Esq., Zacharia & Brown PC 

Navigating the VA’s claims system can be difficult and complex. In this first hour, Colleen Bratkovich looks at the 2018 changes to the VA Pension program and how those changes affect planning for VA eligibility today. She offers a basic and practical guide to representing veterans or their surviving spouses in their claims for pension benefits and the increased benefits available from housebound or aid and attendance ratings. 

She will help you:

  • Identify VA pension eligibility criteria 
  • Understand the VA asset look-back rule
  • Evaluate planning strategies in light of the 2018 changes to the VA Pension Program
  • Appeal adverse decisions

Veteran Disability Compensation
H. Amos Goodall, Jr., Esq., Steinbacher Goodall & Yurchak PC

VA disability compensation (pay) is a monthly, tax-free benefit paid to veterans with injuries or illnesses obtained during or aggravated by their military service. Compensation may include financial support and other VA benefits like health care. In this past year, the VA paid almost 6 million persons an average of $20,484, for a total program cost of $120.75 billion.

The VA determines the benefit amount based on a number of factors, including the level and severity of a qualified disability, the existence of a spouse and/or dependents, and employability relative to the disability. 

Join Amos Goodall as he explains:

  • The forms of compensation available
  • Eligibility
  • The procedures and types of claims

VA Appeals – An Overview
John S. Kamarados, Esq., Kamarados Law Offices

VA benefits and social security disability lawyer, John Kamarados, walks you through the VA Appeals process dealing with the difference of Legacy Claims and the AMA (appeals modernization act) claims and their appeal processes. He focuses on:

  • The VA compensation claim
  • Initial forms
  • The Legacy Appeals Process
  • Going before the Board of Veteran Appeals 
  • Board of Veterans’ Appeals Statistics
  • Court of Appeals of Veterans Claims

Moderated by David K. Trevaskis, PBA Pro Bono for Legal Services Coordinator.

Co-sponsored with the PBA Military and Veterans' Affairs Committee.

The course materials will be distributed in digital download format.

Recorded in December 2023.

Practice Areas


Colleen D. Bratkovich Esq. Zacharia Brown (McKeesport)
Amos Goodall Jr., Esq. Steinbacher Goodall & Yurchak PC (St College)
John S. Kamarados Esq. Kamarados Law Offices
David Keller Trevaskis Esq. Pennsylvania Bar Association
Faculty may vary by location.
PBI reserves the right to substitute speakers at all programs.
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