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Why I'm Passionate about Serving Veterans

Virginia Coker, Kim Kimbrough's mother-in-law

As Veterans Day approaches, I like to reflect on why helping veterans and their families is so meaningful for me.

I've been a lawyer for many years, but it wasn't until I had recovered from a stroke and had launched Kimbrough Law that I began working with veterans. It all started when my mother-in-law called my wife, Sheryl. My mother-in-law wanted Sheryl to call the VA. "I think they might have some money for me," Sheryl's mom said. "Can you help me find out?"

Sheryl's father was in World War II in Germany, so she called the VA. The person Sheryl spoke with was blunt. "She won't qualify because she has too much money," said the VA rep. "Your mother's income is too high."

Spud Coker, Kim Kimbrough's father-in-law

At the time, my mother-in-law's sole income was a Social Security payment of $1,000 per month; just $12,000 per year. When Sheryl told me about the conversation, I was astounded. "That can't be right," I told her. "Try again."

Sheryl called back the next day and spoke to a different VA rep who said, "Your mom won't qualify because she's on Medicaid." When Sheryl told me about the conversation, I said, "That's crazy. Let me look into this."

That's how it started. After doing some research, I realized that my mother-in-law could, in fact, qualify for VA Pension based on her husband's military service. She became our first VA Pension client, and we were able to get her the award.

The VA Pension changed my mother-in-law's life. She thought she was rich. We had doubled her income. It didn't take me long to realize that there were a lot of veterans and surviving spouses out there who were living on very little. These people were eligible for the VA Pension, but they had no idea that benefits were available to them. Or, if they knew about the benefits, they were told that they didn't qualify, just like Sheryl had been told that her mother didn't qualify.

So, I decided to get the word out about VA Pension benefits. I spoke to any audience who would have me--civic groups, community organizations, and veterans' clubs. I wanted everyone to know that this VA benefit was available.

Since then, we've won VA Pension with Aid and Attendance awards for more than 700 veterans and surviving spouses. I'm proud of our track record because we're helping to make life better for people who made sacrifices for us and our way of life. I consider it an honor and a privilege to make their lives a little better.


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