Stetson Law’s Veterans Advocacy Clinic secures disability benefits for area veteran exposed to radiation in the 1950s

Stetson University College of Law’s Veterans Advocacy Clinic recently helped secure long-denied benefits for an 80-year-old Tampa Bay area Navy veteran who was exposed to radiation during atomic bomb testing in the 1950s.The veteran is now eligible to receive disability benefits retroactive to April 2012, when he filed his claim.

Stetson Law student Brian Paul presented the case before the Board of Veterans Appeals at the St. Petersburg V.A. regional office at Bay Pines, Florida. Stetson’s Veterans Advocacy Clinic collected evidence that convinced the board to find the veteran’s cancer to be as likely as not caused by his exposure to ionizing radiation. 

Several Veterans Advocacy Clinic students and staff attorney Ronald “Rocky” Roodhouse LL.M. ’17 researched the etiology of the cancer, documents about the atomic bomb tests, and the standard procedures for calculating radiation exposure that occurred decades ago. The Stetson Veterans Advocacy Clinic team discovered that the VA severely underestimated the veteran’s exposure to radiation and improperly disregarded medical opinions from distinguished oncologists.  

The Veterans Advocacy Clinic, located on Stetson University’s Gulfport, Florida, campus, was dedicated as part of the Veterans Law Institute in 2012 to help the growing population of Tampa Bay area veterans obtain denied Veterans Administration disability benefits.

Professor Stacey-Rae Simcox, director of the Veterans Law Institute and Veterans Advocacy Clinic, oversees Stetson Law students providing free legal assistance to veterans seeking denied disability benefits.

“Stetson’s law students are at the heart of the Clinic’s mission to serve our nation’s disabled veterans by providing them top notch legal help to receive the benefits they have earned,” said Professor Simcox. 

Veterans who need free legal help with VA disability benefits appeals should reach out to the Veterans Advocacy Clinic at Stetson by calling 727-562-7324 or visiting