The Civil Rights Division enforces the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA). UOCAVA requires that states and U.S. territories allow servicemembers and their family members to register and vote absentee in elections for federal offices during periods that they are away from their state of residence due to military orders.
The Consumer Protection Branch of the Civil Division brings criminal enforcement actions against predatory fraudsters seeking to steal veterans’ benefits, deceptively peddle financial products, or sell dangerous products. The effects of such schemes can have significant impact on servicemembers and their families, because whenever a military member loses money to a fraudster or is subjected to unnecessary risks, that member’s dependents often suffer hardship as well. This is particularly true for the many single-income families within the Armed Forces.
Learn more about the Consumer Protection Branch
The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the mainstream of American life -- to enjoy employment opportunities, to purchase goods and services, and to participate in State and local government programs and services. Modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, the ADA is an "equal opportunity" law, not a benefit program entitling you to specific services or financial assistance because of your disability.
The ADA uses different standards than the military and the Department of Veterans Affairs in determining disability status. The ADA covers people with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities such as walking, speaking, lifting, hearing, seeing, reading, eating, sleeping, concentrating, or working. Major life activities also include the operation of major bodily functions such as brain, immune system, respiratory, neurological, digestive, and circulatory functions. Businesses and State and local government agencies must take reasonable steps to make it possible for people with disabilities to be their employees or customers.
Grants and Research
The Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs funds veterans’ treatment courts to promote sobriety, recovery, and stability for veterans who become involved in the criminal justice system and who are also struggling with mental health issues or battling addictions. In addition, OJP funds and conducts important research relevant to the military community, including on crime victimization and genetic research to help identify recovered POWs.
Access to Justice
The Office for Access to Justice (ATJ) is dedicated to improving the federal government’s capacity to address the most urgent legal needs of communities across the country—including legal assistance for veterans, servicemembers, and their families.
ATJ works within the Department of Justice, across federal agencies, and with state, local, and tribal justice system stakeholders to increase access to counsel and legal assistance and to improve the justice delivery systems that serve people who are unable to afford lawyers.