From homeless to hopeful: A disabled veteran's claim is approved with student legal aid

Posted by Texas A&M School of Law on Sep 4, 2019, 9:58:01 AM

Texas A&M University School of Law clinic client, Carlos Gonzalez, is a Gulf War disabled veteran who, in 2017, sought legal assistance from the law school regarding his driver's license. Supervising attorney and faculty member, Karon Rowden, and students resolved the issue for him with a hearing in a county court.

Lynn Rodriguez with captionGonzalez's relationship with the School of Law clinics continued as he filed for full disability from the U.S. government--aided by supervising attorney Lynn Rodriguez and student Paula Pitter. Pitter, a veteran also, presented the idea of filing for total disability, individual unemployability (TDIU) for Gonzalez, with the hopes of a 100 percent disability ruling.

After several months of research and work, the claim was filed in March 2019 and ruled upon in May. The claim was approved, and Gonzalez's monthly disability payments doubled.

"The increase gave Mr. Gonzalez, who was previously homeless, the ability to better provide for himself and live more comfortably," says Celestina Flores, professor and director of the Family and Veterans Advocacy Clinic at TAMU Law.

Gonzalez is making a donation to the Family and Veterans Advocacy Clinic. In a thank you note, he wrote that the law school's clinic services are supervised by "elite attorneys" and are the "very best." 

"These are invaluable lessons learned by our students, not only about the practice of law, but also the importance of making a true difference in a client's life," says Flores.

 

Carlos Gonzalez thank you note (8-29-19)_Page_2

Topics: Texas A&M University School of Law, Clinics, tamu law, Experiential Education, Celestina Flores

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About Texas A&M School of Law

Texas A&M School of Law is an American Bar Association-accredited institution located in downtown Fort Worth. In 2013, the law school acquired Texas Wesleyan University School of Law. Since integrating with Texas A&M five years ago, the law school has sustained a remarkable upward trajectory by dramatically increasing entering class credentials, adding nine clinics and six global field study destinations, increasing the depth and breadth of its career services, student services, academic support and admissions functions and hiring twenty-six new faculty members.

For more information, visit law.tamu.edu.

About Texas A&M University

Texas A&M, established in 1876 as the first public university in Texas, is one of the nation’s largest universities with more than 66,000 students and more than 440,000 living alumni residing in over 150 countries around the world. A tier-one university, Texas A&M holds the rare triple land-, sea- and space-grant designation. Research conducted at Texas A&M represented annual expenditures of more than $905.4 million in fiscal year 2017. Texas A&M’s research creates new knowledge that provides basic, fundamental and applied contributions resulting, in many cases, in economic benefits to the state, nation and world.

About Research at Texas A&M University: As one of the world's leading research institutions, Texas A&M is at the forefront in making significant contributions to scholarship and discovery, including that of science and technology. Research conducted at Texas A&M represented annual expenditures of more than $905.4 million in fiscal year 2017. Texas A&M ranked in the top 20 of the National Science Foundation’s Higher Education Research and Development survey (2016), based on expenditures of more than $892.7 million in fiscal year 2016. Texas A&M’s research creates new knowledge that provides basic, fundamental and applied contributions resulting, in many cases, in economic benefits to the state, nation and world. To learn more, visit http://research.tamu.edu.