New Veterans Legal Clinic Staff Attorney Katie Becker successfully persuaded the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to award survivor’s benefits to the 15-year-old daughter of an Operation Iraqi Freedom combat veteran whose post-traumatic stress disorder caused his death by drug overdose. The VA had denied the dependent’s benefits because it found overdose to be unrelated to the veteran’s military experience. Becker argued that the drugs resulting in his death included some prescribed by the VA for his combat-related PTSD in addition to others he used to self-medicate to help with his severe symptoms. This decision has resulted in a substantial retroactive award and ongoing monthly payments to support the veteran’s surviving child.
Learn more about the Veterans Legal Clinic, which is funded by a lead gift from renowned trial attorney and 1977 law school alumnus James E. "Jim" Butler Jr., who also supports the school's Butler Commitment that guarantees financial aid to 100% of student veteran law school matriculants