Attorney General Alan Wilson announces new program to help veterans, active duty, and reserves
COLUMBIA – Attorney General Alan Wilson has announced a new program to help veterans, active duty military, and members of the Reserves get free legal help. The program is called V.A.L.O.R., which stands for Veterans, Active/Reserve Legal OutReach.
“The legal profession has always recognized it has a moral obligation to support those who defend the freedoms we treasure,” said Attorney General Alan Wilson, who’s also a Colonel in the SC National Guard and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. “This new program will better connect veterans and members of the military with the legal help they need and may not know where to get, or may not be able to afford.”
The SC-VALOR program will coordinate existing legal resources for the military and veterans and find support and fill-in where gaps exist, as well as minimizing duplication of efforts.
The program will consist of free legal clinics held around the state, starting in January, and a referral line to connect veterans and members of the military with lawyers who will provide free or heavily-discounted legal help for problems too complex to be handled at the clinics. The legal clinics will be able to handle simple legal issues like writing wills and power of attorney documents. But the most common legal issues the SC-VALOR program will handle will be Service Member Civil Relief Act issues. Those can be landlord/tenant or employment issues that come up when a service member is deployed, or a service member who’s not receiving lower interest rates when deployed that are required by law.
South Carolina is a military-friendly state and a destination for military retirees. Having the SC-VALOR program in place should help protect the state from reductions or base closures in any future BRAC (Base Realignment And Closure) proceedings. The BRAC Commission looks at whether states have programs like this and takes that into account.
The first free clinic will be held in January in Rock Hill, with the second scheduled for February in Columbia. Subsequent clinics around the state will be announced at a later date.
The program is a collaboration between the Attorney General’s Office, the South Carolina Bar, South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center, Nelson Mullins law firm, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the SC National Guard, the VFW, American Legion, DAV, and Marine Corps League.