Get Help With Medical Issues, Discharge Upgrades, VA Claims, VA Appeals

We know how difficult reaching out for help can be, and we want to take a moment to acknowledge all you have been through and what you are seeking to do given what you have experienced.

While we are so glad that you are on your journey towards finding supportive services, our organization’s purview is limited to assisting survivors of military sexual assault within the military justice system. As such, we are unable to provide direct assistance to you with regard to filing for a disability upgrade, changing the effective date of your rating, or appealing a claim decision with the VA. For VA claims assistance, we would highly encourage you to work with a Veteran Services Organization (VSO), such as Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), American Legion, or Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).

Additionally, Protect Our Defenders partners with the following organizations that have long-established expertise assisting with these matters. Please contact them directly, as they are best equipped to assist you:

National Veterans Legal Services Program’s (NVLSP) Lawyers Serving Warriors Program

  • NVLSP’s Lawyers Serving Warriors program offers pro bono legal help with the following:
  • Discharge Upgrades
  • Applications for Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC)
  • Applications to Boards for Correction of Military Records (BCMRs) for veterans who were wrongfully discharged for personality disorder or adjustment disorder
  • Applications to Boards for Correction of Military Records (BCMRs) for veterans who wish to obtain disability retirement
  • Assistance with VA claims for Mental Health and/or Physical Condition(s) including PTSD due to military sexual trauma (MST)
  • Applications to the Physical Disability Board of Review (PDBR) for an increase in the military disability rating to attain a permanent disability retirement
  • Representation to service members being processed through the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES)

Applications can be submitted directly to NVLSP here.


The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program

The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program can review your case and provide you with a free lawyer to assist with discharge upgrades if you meet all the following criteria:

  • Discharged under conditions Other than Honorable (OTH) or General, Under Honorable
  • You have a diagnosis of, or exhibit symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), or other mental health condition
  • There is at least one meritorious argument to present to the Discharge Review Board

Discover what legal assistance options might be best for you here.



The VetLex initiative is a joint project of the ABA and the Jones Day law firm. VetLex is an online platform that allows veterans, their families, and caregivers to request assistance with legal matters and be referred to local providers of the needed services. VetLex’s areas of expertise include family law, consumer rights and debt advocacy, estate and probate law, housing law, bankruptcy, and benefits and disability.

Click here for pro bono referrals in your area.

Click here for more information on the American Bar Association’s (ABA) activities and initiatives for veterans.


Stateside Legal 

Stateside Legal provides both free and fee-based legal help for military members, veterans and their familiar. They assist with the following:

  • Benefits
  • Civil rights and immigration
  • Discharge upgrades and military record changes
  • Health and safety
  • Housing and real estate
  • Education and employment
  • Money and debt
  • Family matters
  • Criminal law

Check out Stateside Legal’s Help Navigator or locate free or fee-based legal resources in your area here.

In addition to the above resources, we encourage you to visit POD’s Survivor Support Network, which we have set up to help survivors locate services that may be helpful, including counseling, support groups, and legal services.

At POD we are engaged in an ongoing struggle to reform the broken military justice system. If you would like to be kept up to date on our progress, you can do so through signing up for our newsletter. You may also wish to share your story on our website.

*Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.