Lauren Alvarez

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85% of civil legal issues for veterans and their families can substantially affect their lives.

Lauren Alvarez

On September 16, 2019, Lauren experienced an unforgettable tragedy. Her husband of three years, a US Army Veteran suffering from severe PTSD, attacked Lauren with a gun. Despite her 17-year-old son's efforts to intervene, Lauren's husband shot her several times before ending his own life.

Lauren sustained critical injuries and feared she would never walk again. To make matters worse, there was a terrible mistake while Lauren was recovering: her husband's death certificate inaccurately stated that he was divorced.

This mistake would leave Lauren and her two teenage sons with nothing. Fortunately, her nurse told her to call Bay Area Legal Services, where she met Cherilyn Hansen, an attorney at our Major General Ernest A. and Marilyn Bedke Veterans Law Center.

Attorney Hansen immediately began working to amend the death certificate and restore the VA benefits that Lauren is entitled to.

While Attorney Hansen worked to resolve the case, Lauren went through physical therapy until she could get around using a walker. She moved into a small one-bedroom apartment with her sons because she could not bring herself to return to the house where the incident happened. She returned to work as soon as possible so that she could afford the rent, but she could not afford much else.

After months of representation and persistence, Attorney Hansen called Lauren and asked her to check her VA bank account, which had been empty since her husband's death.

When Lauren checked the account, she discovered a balance of almost $16,000 in back-pay! Attorney Hansen told Lauren she would now receive this VA assistance for the rest of her life.

After that tragic accident changed my life, I felt desolated. When I first called Bay Area Legal, I felt there was a light on my path. Then, when I had the first interview with attorney Cherilyn Hansen, I understood that in this organization there are people of great human quality and that they are willing to help people with complex issues like mine.”

Lauren Alvarez

Former Client

Today, Lauren can get around without a walker and continues to work full-time to support her family as she did during her recovery. She has a pending operation to remove one remaining bullet from her body and says she is optimistic despite what she has been through.

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