The Sunday Sip
JOHN MERCURE: Welcome to the Sunday Sip, I’m John Mercure joined by my friend Jim Brzezinski, partner at Tabak Law, the firm that does so much for our veterans.
Jim, thank you so much for being with us.
JIM BRZEZINSKI: Yeah, John, thank you so much for having me. I love talking about what we do for vets, and it’s always a pleasure to be on your show.
JOHN MERCURE: Hey, I want to thank you right out of the gate because a lot of people talk about admiring our vets and helping them, you guys actually do it. So, thank you so much for what you do at Tabak for our veterans.
JIM BRZEZINSKI: Oh, yeah, you know, I love it. It’s become my life’s work, I enjoy it. I get to see the real difference we can make in people’s lives, and what better group than veterans who made so many sacrifices for us, you know, I just love working with vets.
JOHN MERCURE: Well said. Hey, let’s dive into a couple of the areas where you can provide very specific help. PTSD has been in the news a lot. Related to military sexual trauma, that’s been in the news as well. These are tough cases, but cases you guys are not afraid to tackle for our veterans. Tell us a little bit about that.
JIM BRZEZINSKI: Yeah, so we have quite a few PTSD cases. And one thing that sort of comes into light are the MST, the military sexual trauma cases. And while it’s disturbing to hear and know how frequent they are happening, they’re just as much a difficult case because usually there’s no real evidence of the event happening. People that have been sexually assaulted in the military, have certainly not been able to report it to someone, while they’re serving or didn’t feel comfortable reporting, and possibly the person that they were supposed to report to would be the person who had done the ‑‑ done the assault. So, it’s very difficult to gather the evidence; however, we have a team and have had great success in this area. We’ve been able to work with the investigative bodies of the various military branches to get the evidence we need and win some very tough cases that vets have been fighting on their own for sometimes 5, 10, 15 years, you know, then they come to Tabak Law and we’re able to finally break through for them.
JOHN MERCURE: If you or someone you love is in this situation, get in touch with the best in the business, it’s the folks at Tabak Law.
An important part of law unemployability, Jim I want to ask you about this because it’s going to be very real, a very scary condition for our veterans who are out of work, and you guys have expertise in this area.
JIM BRZEZINSKI: We do, John. And right now with the economy being the way it is with COVID and everything going on, you know, this is more relevant than ever. Because what ends up happening ‑‑ and it’s unfortunate, but what ends up happening is the people who maybe were able to hold it together and do an okay job at, you know, while they’re working and ‑‑ and just struggle through their disabilities just to earn a paycheck, you know, when the economy’s going great, employers are willing to settle for people who maybe are not as productive as they’d like. However, when the economy starts tightening up and jobs start getting eliminated, guess whose the first to go? It’s the people who are struggling.
And so what ends up happening is when jobs are lost, they’re primarily, in the beginning, a lot of them are people who have disabilities or maybe are older, and what ends up happening is these people with disabilities that maybe could have qualified for benefits all along, but were able to earn a paycheck, they just didn’t need it and they didn’t use it. And now as the economy is getting worse and worse, it’s something to look into.
So what we do is, we help veterans and nonveterans to get the benefits that you need to survive if you’re out of work and you have a severe disability that makes it even more difficult to find a job.
JOHN MERCURE: You know, one of the things, Jim, I know you guys really dive into, as I hear from veterans occasionally that have had a disability claim denied, something they’re likely entitled to. Can you help veterans sort through that and get them oftentimes the help that they need?
JIM BRZEZINSKI: Absolutely, and, you know, those are the cases that we love because, you know, if it’s an easy case and you just go in and get approved, you don’t really need a lawyer to do that. You can go and just file and if the evidence is all there and it’s just a straightforward claim, there is really no point to hiring a law firm. What we really enjoy and what we are very good at are the tough cases, the cases that have been denied, you know, sometimes multiple times, 5, 10 times or, you know, over the course of sometimes decades. Vets that just keep getting denied, those are the cases we want. And the thing about it is, a lot of times those denials are not because the vet has an invalid claim, it’s usually because they don’t know where to look for the proper evidence, or even worse, they don’t even know what evidence they need to get the claim approved. And, you know, it’s a complicated system and I wish it didn’t have to come down to hiring a lawyer, but those types of cases, that’s exactly what we want. If they’ve been denied, they absolutely should talk to somebody to determine whether it’s a viable claim or not.
JOHN MERCURE: Hey, Jim, we’ve only got a minute left, but I wanted to ask you about the important work happening on the Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin, you’re on the board of directors. This is a great organization, what does it do?
JIM BRZEZINSKI: Yeah, John, it is a wonderful organization, I’m so proud to be a part of it. We’ve supported them financially over the past several years and, you know, to get on the board is definitely an honor for me. But right now what they do is they have a ‑‑ it’s called ‑‑ they have a village of tiny homes in Racine where they take homeless veterans and they put them through a program with the goal of graduating them into being self‑sufficient, having their own apartment, having a job. You know, and over the course of the past few years, I believe ‑‑ I think 13 veterans have gone from living on the street, graduating through the program to becoming, you know, productive citizens that can support themselves, have an apartment. And it’s just amazing. And the great thing is there, we’re working on bringing a village to Milwaukee right now, too.
JOHN MERCURE: Awesome.
JIM BRZEZINSKI: And Milwaukee has a great need, you know, there are so many homeless veterans in Milwaukee, and it will just be amazing when it comes through.
JOHN MERCURE: It absolutely will be.
If you or a loved one has been denied or feel your disability claim has been incorrectly evaluated by the VA, get in touch with the best in the business, it’s the folks at Tabak. Tabakattorneys.com, that’s the website. Tabakattorneys.com. Jim Brzezinski is the partner there helping our veterans.
Jim, thank you so much for being with us on the Sunday Sip.
JIM BRZEZINSKI: Thank you, John, it’s always great to talk to you.