RESULTS MAY VARY DEPENDING ON YOUR PARTICULAR FACTS AND LEGAL CIRCUMSTANCES
Although SSG Horin credits me, the entire NJ Army National Guard JAG TDS team deserves great credit for this really special and blessed outcome. They know who they are. We cannot take full credit for the outcome but it was a privilege for those in our law firm to serve SSG Horin and his family as best we could. Without the reality that SSG Horin is a great American and righted his path, nothing positive could have happened.
When I met then-(Lieutenant) Colonel Thomas Roughneen, my life was in shambles( I mean a literal HELL, Family, friends, career, financial, legal) do to PTSD, substance abuse and many other various issues caused by my service related issues. The military was trying to cut ties with me after 18 plus years, two tours in Iraq, and service at Ground Zero 9-11-2001. Not only were they trying to discharge me dishonorably but they were bringing charges as well. Tom Roughneen fought with me every step of the way, saved my pension, saved my benefits and 100% service connection, he quite frankly saved my life and directly was responsible for the overall positive outcome I have today in regards to everyday life. After Tom made it so I could medically retire with my pension and benefits maximized he began to sort out my legal issues both in criminal court and family court. This man and his team are family in my eyes and I owe my quality of life and my familys life to him. Tom, your my guardian angel and mentor. None of this would of been possible without you and your tireless work ethic and unwavering moral compass. If you need help and want someone that can will have your best interests at heart call Thomas Roughneen. God bless you and your family.
Staff Sergeant (Retired) US Army
The “Deborah Nixon Special Needs Trust Inclusion Act,” introduced by U.S. Representative Mikie Sherrill, D-NJ-11, on 19 March 2021, would not entirely be possible, without the legal guidance and representation from Thomas Roughneen, Esq. This Act would allow veteran participants in the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) to take full advantage of the “Special Needs Trust” (SNT) (since retired uniformed service members are unable to change their beneficiaries to incorporate the trusts) under the current law, (when “child only or spouse and child”) was not selected at retirement.
The law changed in 2014, to allow the SNT to be named as the beneficiary on the SBP. Prior to the law changing, the child or adult child’s name was on the SBP as beneficiary, which placed them in jeopardy of losing other pertinent benefits.
I initially attempted to address the matter of adding my dependent adult child’s SNT as beneficiary to my SBP, but my request was denied, (although I was informed, he could be added to my SBP, and deductions were made). Essentially, I was unable to designate my adult child’s SNT, (to ensure that he receives my earned benefits upon my husband’s demise). It would be disingenuous of me to suggest that I was not concerned about the denials from both the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) and the United States Coast Guard (USCG), my retired payor, as I realized their “no” to me, would imply “not now,” so I moved in another direction.
Thus, after the denials, I decided to pursue legal assistance, and was referred to Thomas Roughneen, Esq., by another Attorney, (who stated he would be the best Attorney for my case), and undoubtedly, he was absolutely correct.
Mr. Roughneen's military and Veteran background identified that when “Congress allowed SBP enrollees to designate a Special Needs Trust as their beneficiary in 2014,” that an open enrollment should be granted to add the applicable Veteran’s child or in my case, adult child to the SBP, and the SNT would be the beneficiary. Because the change in the law would impact more than my dependent, another Veteran recommended escalating my concerns to Congresswoman Sherrill. With the help of Congresswoman Sherill and specifically her staff member Willy Tolba, and Thomas Roughneen, Esq., I am at this juncture, (awaiting Congressional approval).
I cannot thank Thomas Roughneen, Esq. enough, for his professionalism and legal insight, (as this long overdue legislation) could not have been introduced by Congresswoman Sherrill, (who is also a Veteran and true advocate for Veterans) without his legal representation. If you want a passionate, knowledgeable, and overall outstanding Attorney and person, look no further, as Thomas Roughneen, Esq. is the one. He is truly a lawyer to emulate.
CAPT Deborah B. Nixon, USPHS, Retired
(Former Nurse Category Officer)
November 2, 2020
Thomas Roughneen and Associates are top notch! I came to Thomas facing a really tough battle with my third DWI charge. I was distraught but it was comforting to know a fellow combat veteran had my back with powerful resources. Right from the start he provided me with excellent advice and guidance and helped me get back on track. Thomas and his staff are very kind, courteous and professional as well as personable and I appreciate all the hard work and dedication Thomas and his staff put into my case. They stayed in close contact with my wife and I throughout the whole ordeal and explained what was going on every step of the way which was reassuring. It was evident to me that he really took my case personal and went the extra mile to make sure I got the best possible outcome. My wife and I both are very grateful for Thomas and his staff. They helped to keep me out of jail and home with my family. I could not have picked a better attorney to represent me. I truly feel fortunate and blessed to have found such a great attorney that is so dedicated to helping veterans. I would certainly recommend Thomas Roughneen and Associates to anyone who is in need of legal assistance.
Thomas Roughneen and Associates is one of the most capable and professional groups I have ever had the privilege of working with! I called the firm in 2019 with an administrative problem that had lasted for almost a year. It was an impossible task. I say this because, even though I had the regulations on my side, my chain of command was not. Anthony Sciaraffa was my assigned attorney.
The whole firm was engaged with assisting me. They thoroughly researched the topic before taking action, which made things move timely and efficiently. There was an emphasis on cost effectiveness when determining a course of action so I didn’t incur any unnecessary retainers. Anthony did an excellent job developing a strategy with back-up options. His strategy included pressure from multiple fronts, while maintaining composure in the event of any obstacles. Anthony’s candor was positive and supportive throughout the entire affair.
If you’re in the military and require assistance for an administrative nightmare, your search is over! This firm is the last stop on your road to resolution. As you sit and watch your anxiety melt away, rest assured, Thomas Roughneen and Associates has you covered.
I worked at a federal agency (USPHS) for several years, when suddenly I started having problems with a manager who came into the agency with me at the same time and always liked to ask personal questions of his employees/friends, once prior to and also when he became a Manager.
Suddenly, whereas I felt personal information in the office was inappropriate, I realized this manager did not feel the same, as long as he had the power in the relationship and could ask and obtain answers to his questions.
The legal team I hired understood how I now deserved a better yearly evaluation. Thank goodness I also had a legitimate medical condition, which he could not contest, although he did give me poor scores, and upper management did not interfere. I was able to legitimately leave with a high rating for medical disability and never looked back at what it was at the time which was harassment.
I reached out to Thomas Roughneen & Associates for help after making a mistake that could have effected me for life. Everyone was extremely helpful in all aspects of my case and were constantly in touch with me. Even after we went to court they kept in touch to make sure all of the proceeding events went smoothly. I would not have known what to do if they were not there to help me.
I reached out to Thomas Roughneen & Associates for help after making a mistake that could have affected me for life. Everyone was extremely helpful in all aspects of my case and were constantly in touch with me. Even after we went to court they kept in touch to make sure all of the proceeding events went smoothly. I would not have known what to do if they were not there to help me.
July 30, 2019
I came to Thomas Roughneen and associates after I received some pitfalls concerning my Medical Evaluation Board/Disability Evaluation System case with the Air force and the NY Air National Guard. I served the NYANG for over 16 years and also an Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran. As the years progressed after my deployment in support of OIF, it became evident that my body and mind was becoming more and more broken due to my exposures from the toxins from the KBR and third party operated Burn pits, the multiple explosions I have been exposed to. My command initiated an MEB case- due to the bullying nature of the IPEB, and my extreme lack of knowledge in this matter, as stated before, it did not initially go in my favor and I was down on my luck.
After consulting with Mr. Thomas Roughneen, he looked over all my documents and listened to my story, he then concluded that based on his past experience being a certifying official with the Army PEB, not only did I have a valid case, but I also may have some underlying issues that were also service-connected, those underlying issues ended up having a major impact on my case, positively affecting the results and my rating.
Due to the Result Oriented nature of Citizen Soldier Law and Thomas Roughneen Esq., I was awarded an active duty Permanent Disability DoD Rating of 50% at the grade of TSgt due to combat zone related events, and a combined VA Rating of 70%, way more than I had hoped for, and even after the IPEB’s initial rating review, Mr. Roughneen insisted on fighting further on my behalf.
I must officially thank Mr. Thomas Roughneen and his entire staff, all of his professional associates and his tremendous network of contacts that he used strategically in support of my case to the US Air Force and the Air National Guard; without their passion and drive, these results would not be possible.
After my dealings with Mr. Roughneen and his associates at Citizen Soldier Law, I can truly encourage any Uniformed personnel within all the branches of our armed forces, you can trust in the knowledge and the passion of this Firm, they will advocate, and fight in your behalf.
RR, Technical Sergeant (Retired)
106TH RQW NYANG
July 19, 2019
I’d like to express my deeply felt gratitude and respect for Thomas Roughneen and Associates LLC. From the very first time I met Thomas, I felt a great sense of relief and release from the legal mess I’d gotten myself into. I was impressed by the deep appreciation Thomas has for veterans. He explained to me the legal steps he would be taking to resolve my legal problems in very clear, concise terms that I could understand. I cannot overstate the gratitude I have for Thomas, and all the respect and understanding they showed me during this experience. With respect and gratitude,
July 15, 2019
In early 2019, my family, unfortunately, experienced a tragic loss of a loved one due to a negligent accident. I consulted with Tom regarding some legal options. Not only did he provide professional, sound legal guidance, more importantly, Tom immediately provided personal ongoing support to me and my family. Which he still does to this day. He is extremely caring, compassionate and empathetic. If you want realistic legal advice, with a personal touch from a lawyer that truly cares, Tom is your guy.
August 22, 2018
Thomas expertly assisted me through the Navy Formal Physical Evaluation Board (FPEB) process as a U.S. Marine. I am very financially strained, so I also utilized a government-assigned attorney. However, I believe it's always important to get a second opinion--especially for such a life-changing process.
Thomas gave me EXCELLENT advice, while not wasting my time or racking-up unnecessary billable hours. Further, he was able to connect me with a veteran physician familiar with the FPEB process who made all the difference throughout. I have no one to thank but Thomas for having such an ally on my team amid such an important battle.
In the end, Thomas enabled me to achieve a successful result (medical retirement) that will help me provide for myself and my family.
Thomas is a patriot of the highest order, and his service to this nation and its veterans continues to have a profound impact.
Very respectfully submitted,
Marine Major P.C., U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.)
(Editors note: Army Sergeant First Class initially reduced to Staff Sergeant and notified for AGR administrative separation. Board retained finding no misconduct due to mental health reasons and rank with back pay restored)
August 26, 2018
I was ready to give up when a good friend of mine told me how much Tom had helped him in the past. My friend told me up front that Tom wasn’t cheap but insisted I MUST contact him. I reluctantly agreed to do so and I can’t imagine how things would have gone had I not.
Tom took care of me and my family as if we had known him for years. He knew just what to do and say to let me know that all hope wasn’t lost and if we work hard we’ll get the positive results I deserved. He would call almost daily even if there wasn’t anything new to report just to ensure my family and I were doing ok. He would offer advice and words of wisdom to help us get through tough times. Looking back now, all of that helped immensely and it may have saved my career and my marriage.
My friend described Tom as a “shark” when it comes to legal matters. While I feel that term may be a bit harsh, I know now what he was referring to. I was extremely impressed with his knowledge and his level of preparedness. He was not afraid to speak his mind to people at any level if they were wrong or unaware of relevant laws and regulations.
Hard to say how things would have turned out had I tried to handle things without Tom. I can say, without a doubt, that I’m sure I received the best possible outcome with his help and guidance.
1 Dec 2018
(Editor’s note: update after writing first testimonial). Sorry it took so long to get this put into a word doc. My status hasn't changed much. I'm still waiting for the TAG to make his decision to lift the flag so I can get E7 back (hopefully). I am leaving the AGR program and retiring as an M-day. Thanks to you, I will get my retirement and although it’s a consolation prize, I'm ready to get on with something new. Too many otherwise good officers are too worried about their own careers that they're willing to let a good Soldier and valuable asset leave their organization.
10 January 2019
Final update upon voluntary decision to retire with rank and back pay restored.
SFC Retired M.B.
I would like to thank Tom and Debbie's time and attention to my matter. Effects from combat-related stress and injury caught up to me and when I needed someone to represent me/when I needed someone the most they came to the table full force and gave everything they had.
Debbie's attention to detail was outstanding and much appreciated. It is no doubt much of the reason for the positive results granted and benefits received for my family!
We are very grateful for the efforts of everyone at Citizen Soldier Law and Thank you again.
USMC OIF '03
September 11, 2017
One day a lawyer called me out of blue and identified himself and that he had information that the Army wanted to separate me and whether I wanted legal representation. My unit did not call to help where I had been a drilling member who deployed 4 times. But this lawyer went out of his way to find me through one of my friends. I said, “yeah, I could use a lawyer.” He didn't have to find me but he did and then explained that the NJ Guard had started the process to administratively discharge me for unsatisfactory service, or Absent Without Leave (AWOL) and that he would be serving me as a Trial Defense Services Army National Guard Judge Advocate. I had received certified letters about not showing to drill. I had serious, combat-related, health issues and told my command that was the reason I had stopped going to drill
I had gone and spoke to the Commander who suggested getting me help but nothing came of it. The 1SG seemed to want to pursue the AWOL letter.
Thomas Roughneen represented me along with another lawyer on his legal team and put me in touch with a Social worker. He directed me that I needed a PHA and to which personnel I needed to see about medical issues. This guy cares.
I would have lost 20 years of service towards retirement, my family's Tricare benefits and 12 years active. I do not know if anyone else would have even contacted me and the board likely would have proceeded without me.
If you want to know more about why to hire him, contact Thomas for SFC C.T.'s email address and I will share more.
MR Roughneen helped me when no one else would. I received retirement thanks to him. The army was going to give me a 10% disability which means a severance check after 3 deployments for 12 years and 10 months in service to my country. My body gave out everyone in my unit and the dod civilians didn't care. They all said it's just your time to go sign here report there and go away. No one was willing to help me at all. That's when I knew I needed help so I contacted 6 different law firms with a general request and some info on what I was going through. 2 emailed me back with what seemed like an auto-reply but. Mr. Roughneen emailed and called me we talked for what seemed like weeks. He gave me great advice and helped me through many difficult situations. When it came a time I retained him for a fee and now I have 60% and retirement if it wasn't for Mr. Roughneen I would have nothing to show for the years I gave my country so I want to say thank you Mr. Roughneen keep up the good fight for all of us vets out there!
John, J. U.S. Army, Sgt, Ret.
September 15, 2016
Its great to hear from you again it makes me feel better knowing that people still care about other people out there its going well a lot of stress is gone and all that is left is to get started on collage and to continue therapy I am actually happy and ready to move on with my life I know for a fact if I would have stuck it out with you I would be better off but I just folded under the pressure and did not want to deal with the local people who are 'suppose to help me' any more what I am trying to say here is thank you for every thing and I wish you long and happy life with your family
P.S. is there some where on your site that I could post or give you like 20 stars or something I would really love to tell everyone how much you helped me
Dear Mt Roughner,
Thank you very much for all you have done for me since the first time we met at MMU, two years ago. I only have good things to tell anyone about all your effort and dedication, you made this possible, all the way, even walking an extra mile and listening to my sorrows when that was absolutely not your responsibility or obligation more than a JAG or a counselor you become a friend, a truly one. It has been a long journey and regardless of the outcome, I am really grateful for having met you and had you by my side as a Judicial Adviser and a friend. Thank you for believing and helping me along this way, during all this difficult time.
My whole life was suddenly turned 180 degrees around, everything I had was lost in a short period of time. Such losses above and beyond my health issues included; the personal traumas of the tragic loss of family members, I lost three brothers in less than 4 years, legal issues and expenses with my ex-wife trying and succeeding in keeping my now 8-year-old son.
My health issues resulted in the loss of the job I loved and worked so hard to obtain as a Federal Technician within the DoD. I was sent home after my Health issues, deemed I was unfit for work. I was excluded from my Unit's deployment list to Kosovo.
I lost my car, my home, my health, my friends and my financial stability and since that incident this all trigged a chain reaction of events, that was life-changing and altering events, pushing me to a place where no good man should ever be. Yet from that place I could contemplate who was the ones standing by my side and supporting me, and among those was you Sir, helping me not only to pursue my rights, but reminding me to never give up, even when my anxiety levels reached places where I doubted my own mental health, in your words of wisdom and motivation your strong caring presence kept me strong and pushing ever forward.
My life indeed will never be the same due to the limitations of my current health issues. And with this in mind and choosing to move forward in my life, and in so accepting this fact, as I found that I could no longer afford to continue living in New Jersey, due to the costs of living, medical bills, and as a National Guard member I did not and do not have access to the VA Hospital, or any Medical Examinations, Medications, Testing or other such specialized Care or other Updates for my health, I have had to have it all be an out of pocket expenses, or through my personal health insurance, Thank God I have it from my Old Job with the DoD as a Federal Technician. Which still cost me over $300,00 per Month plus co-payments as applicable. Tricare does not accept me as I have the DoD insurance, and I am not considered as a wounded in Line Of Duty by the VA, even if the NJARNG
Have an awesome Day Sir, and Blessed be with the blessings of love, friendship, balance, health.
Thank you for ALL you have done for me, and feel free to tell anyone who you decide to do so, how hard was on my own personal path since we started this journey, and why one should never Give Up, you have my full permission to use me as an example. Blessed be You with the blessings of Wisdom, Knowledge and great achievements. Thank you again.
In 2004, I J.P., was facing charges of negligent homicide and dereliction of duty for failure to clear my 50 caliber weapon. The weapon was inside the cradle when a young sergeant first class, decided to tell my crew to download weapons will I was busy monitoring the radios. As I came up to clear them my Soldier was throwing them into the tank following the order of this young sergeant first class. The weapon wasn’t cleared and it hit the inside of the tank going off and killing a young and brilliant Soldier. I was given a lawyer that requested that I make a plea deal. After weeks of having this lawyer and telling him what happened downrange, I ask him to tell me about my case. He didn’t have a clue and I was supposed to appear in court in like a week or two. I happen to talk to this young and brilliant major name Roughneen. I told him about my case and he immediately began asking me questions that showed he was interested in helping me win this case. But he was only in Germany during the summer for a few weeks. When my trial date came later in October, I emailed him that I could only see myself in a striped prison uniform. I was able to request for him to be my lawyer. As soon as he showed up we worked on my case literally all night. He was hanging pieces of paper on the wall making sure he got every piece of detail. He requested to find a tank and we replayed the incident down to the exact detail on the tank. He has done more in one week to prepare for this case then my appointed lawyer did in the whole time he was with me. I knew that this Major was not just here to get a paycheck, that he was here cause he cared about me as a Soldier and really wanted to find out what happened. That is all I wanted was a chance to prove myself innocent. He gave me that chance; I was facing getting kicked out and 3 years or more and only ended up doing 5 months in jail and losing my rank. Because of him I also got to stay in the military getting paid on active duty while serving my time and I was discharged with a disability pension. Major Roughneen is a Soldier’s Soldier. He gave me his all plus 100 percent of his time and I am thankful for a lawyer like him. He actually cares about the Soldier and not just the money or just going along with the decision of higher-ranking officers. For all the Soldiers out there that need a strong-minded and smart lawyer attorney Roughneen is your man. For Soldiers out there with disabilities that are being unfairly treated and are in need of a great lawyer that will have your back and make sure that you are taken care of, attorney Roughneen is the best man for the job.
My name is K.M., and when I first met with Thomas Roughneen I was overwhelmed, emotional and scared because of the situation that I was in. Thomas was the only lawyer who immediately calmed my nerves and put my challenge into perspective. He was like a psychologist, helping me to think through my options and it gave me the confidence that my life in time would go back to normal as long as I followed a few simple steps. I left his office feeling confident that he had the intelligence, connections, and experience to help me. That feeling was invaluable, as it helped me take the necessary steps to start the healing process. I swear that God led me to him because he was an excellent combination of attorney, counselor, advocate, and friend, something that is often much needed when you feel that your world is falling apart.
His defense and case investigation was superior! I was very comfortable with the laymen language he used to keep me informed. Every step of the way he provided me with my options and case progress and took endless hours to make sure I completely understood everything and most of all that I was ok.
My positive experience with Thomas gives excellent reason to recommend him to anyone seeking assistance with any legal matter. He is beyond superior and I tell him every chance I get, “Tom saved my life in many ways.”
A.B., Army Sergeant's wife (two deployments):
'Hi Tom! Wanted to share this email with you. It’s almost a done deal.I also wanted to let you know that Ron has decided there is to be no “official” retirement party; however, he has agreed to get some people together on Sat Mar 7th following drill. I (of course) am inviting a few people including immediate family and close friends to also be there and I wanted to extend that invitation to you. I know it’s kind of last minute and PA is pretty far for you to travel but I told you’d I’d let you know about a party.
Thanks so much for all your help through this process. Just knowing we had you in our corner keep me sane many times.
Talk with you soon!
A.B., Army Sergeant's wife
FROM M.J. (Father of an injured Veteran with two deployments)
'Therefore we have you leading the legal battle, 2 staunch advocates at the Wilmington VA and three excellent folks at Fort Campbell helping things along. Definite progress. Sounds like a great team to me. Once again, thanks for all you do. You may not realize it, but I think this sad affair would have been quite hopeless without your efforts.'
Things went extremely well yesterday in Wilmington. CSM (Command Sergeant Major) ----- and her civilian superior couldn't be nicer enough to us. Spent more than two hours with us.
... . My son will be transferred from the Philadelphia VA to the Wilmington VA, a much smaller and extremely more user friendly facility.
Also, he would rather participate in the lesser program with -----, because my son just can't bring himself to go on active duty- and the CSM is fine with that decision.
The trip pretty much took the entire day... . I felt like we really accomplished something positive for a change.
My son also has an new advocate at Fort Campbell as well ... .
A.S., Navy Officer after prevailing in a settlement of USERRA (re-employment) litigation:
Also, I am sending you very good bottle of Scotch a a thank you (750ml of Johnny Walker Blue you'll be the envy of every Col in the Army) . I am BSing UPS so I can ship it. I had no idea it was such a PITA to send a bootle of alcohol as a gift. If you do not get it by the end of the week let me know.