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Have Had Attorney Less Than Two Months, Owe Fees?

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Thank you all. It would have most likely been better then to wait until after the appeal decision to hire an attorney.

I have no problem paying someone for a claim they helped win, but to pay them for something they had no assistance with seems assinine.

Edited to correct phones auto correcting.

Edited by sevensees

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Charging a Fee for Help with Filing a Claim


Maybe this will help ya understand the attorney fees a little better!

Generally, no individual or organization may charge a fee for help with filing an initial application for benefits. There is only one exception to this rule and that is under the third-party exemption in 38 CFR § 14.636 (d). We have included this citation in this paper. The requirements under this exception are very limiting and very demanding. No one that we know of, who is charging a fee, thinking he or she is operating under this exception, is doing it legally. Here are the ways they are violating this law. (In most cases those who are operating illegally are engaging in all 4 of these unlawful activities.)

(1) The person paying the fee is not a disinterested third party as required by law.

(2) The person filing the claim is not submitting the fee agreement to VA general counsel as required.

(3) The person filing the claim is not submitting the disclaimer to General Counsel as required.

(4) In some cases, the paying of the fee is contingent upon a percentage of the amount of the claim being approved -- this is not legal.

If you are working with someone who is not operating legally as outlined above, you should not continue to use that person's services. If you yourself are operating in a manner that is not in accord with the conditions outlined above, you must stop doing that. You're not legal. Not only could unauthorized people get a notice to cease and desist but in some cases there could be fines or legal action involved as well. It's not worth it.

38 CFR § 14.636 Payment of fees for representation by agents and attorneys in proceedings before Agencies of Original Jurisdiction and before the Board of Veterans' Appeals.

(a) Applicability of rule. The provisions of this section apply to the services of accredited agents and attorneys with respect to benefits under laws administered by VA in all proceedings before the agency of original jurisdiction or before the Board of Veterans' Appeals regardless of whether an appeal has been initiated.

(b) Who may charge fees for representation. Only accredited agents and attorneys may receive fees from claimants or appellants for their services provided in connection with representation. Recognized organizations (including their accredited representatives when acting as such) and individuals recognized under §14.630 of this part are not permitted to receive fees. An agent or attorney who may also be an accredited representative of a recognized organization may not receive such fees unless he or she has been properly designated as an agent or attorney in accordance with §14.631 of this part in his or her individual capacity as an accredited agent or attorney.

© Circumstances under which fees may be charged. Except as noted in paragraph ©(2) and in paragraph (d) of this section, agents and attorneys may charge claimants or appellants for representation provided: after an agency of original jurisdiction has issued a decision on a claim or claims, including any claim to reopen under 38 CFR 3.156 or for an increase in rate of a benefit; a Notice of Disagreement has been filed with respect to that decision on or after June 20, 2007; and the agent or attorney has complied with the power of attorney requirements in §14.631 and the fee agreement requirements in paragraph (g) of this section.

(1) Agents and attorneys may charge fees for representation provided with respect to a request for revision of a decision of an agency of original jurisdiction under 38 U.S.C. 5109A or the Board of Veterans' Appeals under 38 U.S.C. 7111 based on clear and unmistakable error if a Notice of Disagreement was filed with respect to the challenged decision on or after June 20, 2007, and the agent or attorney has complied with the power of attorney requirements in §14.631 and the fee agreement requirements in paragraph (g) of this section.

(2) In cases in which a Notice of Disagreement was filed on or before June 19, 2007, agents and attorneys may charge fees only for services provided after both of the following conditions have been met:

A final decision was promulgated by the Board with respect to the issue, or issues, involved in the appeal; and

The agent or attorney was retained not later


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No offense, but you're an adult and you agreed to those terms. Next time don't sign so quickly!!! Take a day or two to think it over. Check and see if the attorney is certified/authorized by the VA, to represent veterans claims, at the VA, and if not, you might be able to get out of it. jmo


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If a person works for you they should be compensated .. if you made an aggreement, honor it.

There's nothing wrong with paying people for working for you and I agree as I stated above that they should be compensated. But if they were just hired and did nothing to help with the current claim that pays them possibly $60,000 in pack pay they did nothing to achieve, I don't see how that would be considered fair. It would be fair to pay them what would be appropriate for ordering a c-file, filing a headache claim with is not yet in motion, and where else they have done in the 1 month+ since being hired.

We hired them to help win a back pay. If they don't help win that back pay, how come they should be compensated an extreme amount for no relevant work associate with their big pay day?

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When you hired this attorney and he/she is legal with the VA Rules and you appointed him/her POA to help you with this claim and you agreed to pay if you win...

Then your bound to pay him/her upon winning your Award and if this means your Appeal 20 years old or your first initials claim and this attorney wins it all for you then yes you should pay him even if it means some things he never did the point is he won and you get all this BACK RETRO, then he in entitled to the 20%,

Ask yourself this? would you have won without the help of this attorney? probably not and the hamster wheel keeps on rolling.

...I understand what your meaning is and it don't seem fair but that's the way it is...so basically when you hire an Accredited Attorney, &give him/her POA and he wins your claim he/she in entitled to the 20% retro.

Maybe this will help understand about attorney fees a little better!

VA Office of General Counsel Website -- Frequently Asked Questions about Accreditation


Question: In a law office with attorneys and paralegals working under the supervision of a single Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) accredited attorney, who needs to apply for VA accreditation using a VA Form 21a?

Response: Accreditation means the authority granted by VA to representatives, agents, and attorneys to assist claimants in the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims for VA benefits. 38 C.F.R. § 14.627(a). Without accreditation, an individual may not independently assist claimants in the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims for VA benefits.

VA regulations allow interns, paralegals, and law students to assist in preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims for VA benefits of claimants for benefits, but only under the direct supervision of the attorney of record, and with the specific written consent of the claimant. 38 C.F.R. § 14.629©(3). VA does not accredit these individuals. With the written consent of the claimant, attorneys affiliated or associated with the attorney of record may assist in the representation of the claimant, and may do so without the requirement for direct supervision by the attorney of record. 38 C.F.R. § 14.629©(2).

Thus, in a law firm where several attorneys and paralegals work on VA claims for a single accredited attorney properly appointed on a VA Form 21-22a as the attorney of record, each attorney must be accredited if their work involves assisting claimants in the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims for veterans benefits. Paralegals may assist the attorney of record subject to the written consent of the claimant but may not independently provide representation to claimants.

Question: If an attorney’s practice consists solely of advising clients that they might be eligible for benefits and referring them to a recognized service organization or accredited agent or attorney, does the attorney need to be accredited?

Response: No. As a general rule, an attorney’s practice of advising veterans about VA benefits not involving a specific claim does not require accreditation. Aside from regulating admission to practice before the Department, VA’s accreditation authority is generally limited to regulating the conduct of individuals in assisting claimants with the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims for benefits and reviewing the fees and expenses charged for representation in proceedings before the Department. Reviewing a veteran’s records, researching available VA benefits, and advising a veteran as to potential benefits before he or she decides to file for a benefit is not part of the preparation, presentation, or prosecution of a claim, and as such, is outside VA’s accreditation authority. Accordingly, accreditation is not required for such consultation by attorneys.

Question: If an attorney works with pension benefit clients and advises clients as to eligibility requirements, but does not file the application for them, do they need to be accredited?

Response: Yes. In answering this question, we assume that (1) a “pension benefit client” means a veteran not currently receiving VA pension but one who has expressed intent to file for such benefit, and (2) that the advice provided includes those acts in making the claim ready for filing, but not the actual filing of the claim. Here, the advice constitutes preparation of a claim and therefore requires accreditation. This is because the advice is given in regards to a specific application for benefits rather than general advice not related to a specific claim. The difference is significant in that the purpose of VA’s accreditation program is to ensure that claimants for VA benefits receive qualified assistance in preparing and presenting their claims.

Question: Is VA accreditation required to assist a veteran in preparing his or her claim?

Response: Yes. Accreditation means the authority granted by VA to assist claimants in the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims for benefits. 38 C.F.R. § 14.627(a). Unaccredited individuals may provide other services to veterans so long as they do not assist in the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims for benefits.

Question: I am providing pro bono representation to a veteran. Does this require VA accreditation?

Response: Yes. Our intent is that attorneys will apply for accreditation for any new representation as indicated by the filing of a VA Form 21-22a after June 22, 2008. The claim and a VA Form 21-22a may be filed while the accreditation application is pending. VA Regional Offices (RO) have been instructed to accept such filings and communicate to the attorney the need for accreditation. Although representation without accreditation is not permissible, the RO will hold the VA Form 21-22a (permitting the claimant to have his or her choice of representation) until the accreditation application has been processed.

Attorneys who initiated representation on a claim prior to the June 23, 2008 effective date of the new rules, need not seek accreditation for representation provided on that claim. Initiation of a representation before the effective date of the new rules would be indicated by appointment on a VA Form 21-22a or an attorney’s letterhead


Edited by Buck52

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