Nevah Jones joined the Advocacy Center as a Skadden Fellow in our Veterans Legal Services Unit in September. In addition to serving as an attorney for low-income veterans in need of service-related payments and benefits from VA, Nevah will expand our existing medical-legal partnership to include legal training for clinicians providing care to veterans.
Nevah will focus on educating clinicians about what is legally necessary to craft a medical opinion in support of a veteran’s VA claims, as veterans have a higher burden of proof when submitting medical documentation for service-related disability benefits. She will advocate to address potential systemic issues in the initial stages of medical assessment that may result in payment or benefit denials for those to whom it is lawfully due. In addition, Nevah will also work with clinicians to identify health care barriers for veterans living with racial trauma stemming from military service. Racial discrimination within the military contributes to mental health conditions that may result in less than honorable discharge characterizations. Veterans who seek to upgrade their discharge characterization to access treatment or service-related benefits need credible medical evidence of their race-based trauma.
As a 20-year veteran of the Air Force, Nevah feels a unique connection to this work:
“In the military, I saw injured servicemembers pressured to ‘soldier on’ instead of seeking the medical care that they needed. Those same individuals were then disciplined and discharged when their untreated ailments made it difficult to do their jobs. I regret that I could not do more for my airmen then. It is because of them that I am singularly focused on getting veterans access to necessary health care and benefits today.”
If you are a clinician or attorney interested in learning more about these educational and legal efforts, please contact Nevah.