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Using An Attorney


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This advice may be old news to some. Hopefully It will serve useful to those who are just delving into the VA claims ordeal.

I think there are some great VSO's out there. For me, I went into the deal feet first. I didn't have the first clue what a VSO was or how to obtain one at the time. I filed a claim on my own in 1997, was denied and then just gave up. Seems no one really knocks on your door to tell you you may be entitled to something for your illnesses.

The paperwork necessary to me was overwhelming (PTSD the gift that keeps giving). I knew I couldn't make it successful on my own. I had no direction.

If you are first filing a new claim you may use a VA attorney. They helped me do the initial paperwork. What I discovered along the way though is they don't want to go much further than that. Or at least this is how is seems to me. You see, the attorney can only get paid if your case goes to appeal. At least this was my case. If it does go to appeal then the attorney is entitled to 20% of your awarded back pay. Other cases and situations may be different but this is how I understand the law to be.

Shortly after leaving the attorney's office I decided to read up on the law. Since I have become fascinated with the law and frankly somewhat obsessive with regards to my claim.

My attorney didn't go to bat for me as I expected. I didn't get much input. I submitted all of my statements of claim and buddy letters via my attorney. But it's as if they didn't want me to win on my first try. Because if I did, they didn't get paid. And for me, this is exactly what happened. Caveat...I was willing to give up my 20% to the attorney. To me, it would have been money well spent just to have someone in my corner. When I started my claim, I had not been to a doctor about my problems with the exception of annual checkups. I literally had little medical evidence.

The takeaway...find someone to stand in your corner. But be your own advocate as well. You can't just sit back and expect things to happen. Collect your data and evidence, submit it, ask the questions.

Edited by onrope
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