Cullerton urges Veterans to use free statewide legal hotline
Tom Cullerton urges military veterans and service persons to take advantage of free statewide legal hotline
VILLA PARK- To better serve Illinois heroes, the state has formed the first-ever statewide legal assistance hotline and coordinated network of legal support services for military personnel, veterans and their families.
State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is helping spread the word about the Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network (IL-AFLAN) to ensure DuPage County residents take advantage of free legal services.
“Our nation’s heroes have served our country with honor and dignity, and it is now our time to ensure they have access to the necessary resources to be successful,” Cullerton said. “Our veterans and service men and women should not have to jump through hoops to receive assistance. This one-stop hotline will offer them direct support and point them to attorneys in their area who will provide comprehensive and free legal assistance to give them better access to services and benefits for which they qualify.”
The free services will be readily available for military members and families who need assistance with free legal help for urgent family, housing and consumer problems as well as possible discharge upgrades and benefit appeals.
“Illinois is home to nearly one million veterans and active duty service members. We have a responsibility to protect their rights much like they have fought to protect our rights,” said Trish McGill, U.S. Army Veteran and Chair of the Illinois Access to Civil Justice Council. “The Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network will help our veterans and service members resolve their legal problems and preserve their health, safety and financial independence.”
Cullerton advocated for House Bill HB 3933 in 2015, which created the Illinois Access to Civil Justice Council, whose first duty was to create and develop a statewide military personnel and veteran legal assistance network.
The free hotline number is 855-452-3526 or 855-IL-AFLAN. The hotline is staffed by attorneys Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and serves as the starting point to connect to IL-AFLAN’s network. The network will offer legal advice and brief services and then help connect veterans and military members to legal aid providers near their community. Nine organizations across the state have received grants to provide legal aid services as part of the IL-AFLAN.
While a few other states have veterans’ legal aid initiatives, Illinois is the largest state to combine a hotline with a legal help provider network.
Cullerton urges local attorneys looking to offer pro bono assistance to contact any of the nine organizations who are part of the network and say that they want to help with IL-AFLAN.
“This is another example of our community and state binding together to honor and respect our military men and women,” Cullerton said.