Providing comprehensive resources for Veterans and their families.
For More Information Contact:
Santa Cruz Veterans Services Office
842 Front Street
Santa Cruz, CA
Monday-Thursday 8AM-12PM & 1PM-5PM
If you served in the United States Military (Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Navy or Marines) you may be eligible for alternative sentencing programs and additional treatment at no cost to you.
It does not matter how long you served, whether or not you served in combat, or what your discharge characterization was.
If you are interested in participating please contact
The Veteran Advocate:
842 Front St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Proposition 47, the ballot initiative passed by California voters on November 4, 2014, reduces certain drug possession felonies to misdemeanors.
It also requires misdemeanor sentencing for petty theft, receiving stolen property and forging/writing bad checks when the amount involved is $950 or less.
Veterans that have received a less than honorable discharge and looking to update their discharge conditions can fill out a Discharge Review Board application (DD Form 293).
Links below provide information and assistance with Discharge Upgrades.
Legal Help for Veterans. Some VA facilities host non-VA legal service providers that can assist Veterans free of charge.
If a Veteran needs legal assistance, you may contact one of the listed legal service clinics.
VA Prison Re-Entry
Most Veterans who are in jail or prison will eventually reenter the community. VA’s HCRV program is designed to promote success and prevent homelessness among Veterans returning home after incarceration.
Despite the circumstances, some justice-involved Veterans may be eligible for VA benefits. Disability compensation, pension, education and training, health care, home loans, insurance, vocational rehabilitation and employment, and burial.
VJO (Veterans Justice Outreach)
The aim of the Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) program is to avoid the unnecessary criminalization of mental illness and extended incarceration among Veterans by ensuring that eligible, justice-involved Veterans have timely access to Veterans Health Administration (VHA) services, as clinically indicated.
VJO specialists provide direct outreach, assessment and case management for justice-involved Veterans in local courts and jails and liaison with local justice system partners.
Title 38 U.S.C. Section 1151 allows VA to pay compensation for death or disability "as if service-connected." Don't be confused with this subtle difference.
The disability is not considered service-connected. Under Section 1151, benefits may be paid for:Injuries incurred or aggravated while receiving VA-sponsored medical treatment.
Injuries incurred or aggravated while pursuing a course of vocational rehabilitation under 38 U.S.C. Chapter 31 or participating in compensated work therapy under 38 U.S.C. 1718.If eligibility is established under Section 1151, the disability is considered service-connected for payment purposes ONLY.
The Federal Tort Claims Act prescribes a uniform procedure for handling of claims against the United States, for money damages only, on account of damage to or loss of property, or personal injury or death, caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of a Government employee while acting within the scope of his or her office or employment, under circumstances where the United States, if a private person, would be liable in accordance with the law of the place where the act or omission occurred.
You cannot file a regular medical malpractice claim if a VA healthcare provider is involved. Instead, you have two options:
Filing a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act;
Filing an "1151 Claim" with the VA claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act claim must be filed within 2 years of the time that you discovered the injury and what caused it.
The "1151 Claim" is an administrative claim that can be filed at any time with the VA.
The VALOR Guide was conceived as a means to develop a comprehensive database of legal service providers, improve access by Veterans, coordination among providers, and systematize the delivery of legal services to all Veterans.
The name VALOR Guide was developed into a series of six volumes, to include all of California.
The Guide reflects the joint efforts of the law firm of Greenberg Traurig and Loyola Law School, along with the generous support and effort of many other firms, agencies and individuals.
Veterans can sometimes run into issues with law enforcement and the criminal justice system resulting in incarceration.
It is important that justice-involved Veterans are familiar with VA benefits and which ones they may still eligible to receive versus which ones are in jeopardy. Vet Court programs and Veteran Justice Outreach Teams are vital in the process.
It is also important to understand what programs are available to assist them with reintegrating back into the community once released from incarceration.
CRLA (California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc.)
CRLA Santa Cruz Office
501 Soquel Avenue
(At the corner of May Avenue)
Santa Cruz, CA 95062
(no appointment needed)
California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. (CRLA) is a nonprofit legal service program created to help California's low-income individuals and communities.
CRLA offers assistance in the following Areas:
- Employment Law
- Education Advocacy
- Public Benefits
- LGBT Issues/Name Changes to confirm to gender.
Bay Area Legal Clinic
Bay Area Legal Aid provides free help with civil legal problems regarding housing, public benefits, health care access, and domestic violence prevention. Help includes potential legal advice, legal information, referrals, and possible representation in the following areas for low-income people:
Public, subsidized, and private housing; fair housing and housing discrimination; housing conditions; lock-outs and utility shut-offs; residential hotels.
Veterans Benefits; CalWORKs; SSDI; SSI; Food Stamps; General Assistance; Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants.
Credit card debt; debt collection; bankruptcy advice; wage garnishment; credit report errors.
Health Care Access:
Medi-Cal; Denti-Cal; Medicare; Healthy Families; In-Home Support Services; ParaTransit Services; mental health services; HMO Issues.
Temporary restraining orders; legal separation or annulment; divorce; child or spousal support; custody and visitation orders; immigration issues; Violence Against Women Act enforcement for domestic violence survivors only