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Legal Assistance

Legal Services

The legal office can provide helpful general information and guidance on personal legal matters to those eligible for legal assistance services. Active duty members and retirees plus their dependents are eligible for these services. Air Force Legal Assistance and Preventive Law Programs are governed by Air Force Instruction (AFI) 51-504 and Air Force Policy Directive (AFPD) 51-5.

Personnel Services

The front desk clerk provides notary services, manages legal assistance, meets and greets all potential legal clients and provides administrative assistance to other office divisions. She is also the office security manager, tracking individual security clearances and managing all security announcements.

Eligibility

Legal assistance is provided in a private office setting during walk-in hours only. Air Force policy prohibits the provision of legal assistance over the telephone or without first verifying eligibility for this service. As with other base services, eligibility is determined by your military identification card which you are required to present at each visit to the office. In order to qualify for Legal Assistance from this office, you must fall into one of the following categories:

  • Active Duty Members
  • Dependents of Active Duty
  • Retired Military
  • Dependents of Retired Military
  • Guardsman (dependents when on Title 10)
  • Reservist (dependents when on Title 10)
  • Non re-married Former Spouse of Active Duty

Types of Service

Areas of the law in which legal assistance is provided include:

  1. Bankruptcy
  2. Child support issues
  3. Consumer protection
  4. Domestic relations
  5. Landlord-tenant issues
  6. Leases
  7. Name changes
  8. Powers of attorney
  9. Real estate sales
  10. Small claims court
  11. Wills
  12. Notary

Wills and Powers of Attorney

Much of the time of the legal assistance staff is spent preparing wills and powers of attorney, particularly for military members facing mobilization. In addition to ensuring their financial and other affairs are in order, active duty members and reservists are well-advised to obtain a will and power of attorney that reflects their current wishes for the disposition and management of their property. Remember that your designation of beneficiaries in your will does not determine who is entitled to the proceeds of your life insurance policy. Periodically review the designation in your policy to ensure it reflects your current wishes as well.

Legal Service Guides

In addition to offering private legal counseling, the Legal Office offers guides prepared by the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate on topics frequently asked about by its patrons. They include:

  • Small Claims Court
  • Door to Door Sales
  • Car Repairs
  • Dealing with Unexpected Death
  • Credit Fraud
  • Legal Residence and Domicile
  • Used Car Purchases
  • Fair Credit Billing
  • New Car Purchases

These guides provide useful information that may be picked up during regular office hours, and reviewed either after or in lieu of receiving legal assistance on the topics covered.

Juvenile Assistant Council

Apart from its traditional function of providing private legal counseling, the Legal Assistance Branch is tasked with monitoring the Juvenile Assistant Council on Tinker Air Force Base. This Council reviews incidents involving juveniles that occur on the base and takes appropriate action aimed at protecting both property and persons within the jurisdiction of the installation.

Services Not Provided

It must be remembered that the Legal Office cannot solve all your legal problems and, at times, must advise you to consult a private attorney at your own expense. Areas in which legal assistance cannot be provided include:

  1. Issues involving personal commercial enterprises
  2. Criminal issues under the UCMJ or state/federal criminal law
  3. Standards of Conduct issues
  4. Official matters in which the USAF has an interest
  5. Legal issues or concerns raised on behalf of another person
  6. Representation of a client in a court or administrative proceedings
  7. Answers to questions and providing initial advice and referrals on complex legal issues.

Although the Legal Assistance Branch cannot prepare legal documents for court, we can assist you by interpreting legal documents and correspondence received from other parties, providing answers to specific legal.

Household Goods Claims

Filing Household goods claims is now online.

The Air Force Judge Advocate General's Corps has consolidated the processing of certain claims, commonly known as personnel claims, at a single location at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

These claims involve loss or damage during shipment of household goods and privately owned vehicles as well as during storage at government expense, and loss or damage to personal property located in government quarters or other authorized locations incident to government service.

Other types of trauma-related claims, such as those resulting from the alleged negligence of a government vehicle driver, for example, will continue to be processed at the base legal office.

For personnel claims, the new process will enable Air Force employees to file claims on-line and electronically submit required documents to the Air Force Claims Service (AFCSC) in Ohio. Employees can complete the process from home after a one-time login from any government computer. If you don’t have access to a government computer, call the claims center at DSN 986-8044 or 1-877-754-1212 and they will provide a username and password.

As employees complete their claims on-line, they can get customer service over the Web or from the center by phone.  Not only will the on-line filing system accelerate the processing of the claim, it will allow for quicker payment.

For general information on filing a claim, go to online claims or call the base legal office. To file a claim, go to the website or call DSN 312-986-8044 or 1-877- 754-1212 with questions.

1) Online Filing - After gathering all the required paperwork, proceed to the claims website and begin inputting your claim.

2) Filing Via Mail Service - A package is available at the base legal office or on-line to file a paper claim. After reading and completing the paperwork, mail the claim to: Air Force Claims Service Center, 1050 Forrer Blvd, Dayton, Ohio 45420. However, people should remember that filing a claim via regular mail will take longer due to mail delays and the time to manually enter it into the system. Delays can be longer from overseas.

The pink form, DD Form 1840/1840R, entitled "Joint Statement of Loss or Damage at Delivery/ Notice of Loss and/or Damage", will continue to be submitted within 70 days from the date of delivery to the local base legal office. After that, the claim itself will be submitted directly to the AFCSC within two years from the date of the incident. Filing the DD Form 1840R is not considered filing a claim.


Associated Links

Community Legal Aid Services
Resources for community legal aid.

AF Legal Services
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