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BoneyWV

Questions about VSO and POA Rep - what is expected

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Good day all,

in dec 15, I used a county VSO to help me submit paperwork, medical files and evidence, etc, and I was assigned the American Legion as my POA/representative. Since then, my VSO quit, so any question I have gets answered by a random other VSO at the office. It isn't exactly the best feeling, but my claim is prep for decision and I think I've completed all of my C&Ps and I definitely submitted any and all supporting medical documents and evidence to support my claim. I know eBenefits isn't accurate, but I've routinely noticed updates, such as my status moving backwards to gathering of evidence. I would call the 800 number that day and sure enough I would have another C&P scheduled for later that month. Anyways, my concern isn't so much with the accuracy of eBenefits. 

 

My my questions and concerns are:

what should my expectations be of my VSO, or I guess that office. Will they be able to provide me updates before anyone at the VA?

how often should I check in with them? 

I'm concerned because I've seen other folks post about how amazing their VSO is. I do understand it varies widely though. 

 

Also, what is the purpose of the American Legion? Should they be in contact with me? Do I expect to hear from them? The VSOs haven't answered my questions about the American Legion. I get the feeling it is a check in the box or just a formality. I just don't know what their purpose really is. I know it's a little late to be asking, but other than checking eBenefits often, I try to let it run its course. Any insight would be appreciated. Thanks. 

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My VSO usually sends me an unofficial letter with the highlights before I get the actual decision. Your mileage may vary. I also, over time, have gotten much better at filing claims so I corroborate, assemble, type up, and cite everything and send it myself, and also send a copy to VSO. That way both Ebenefits, my fax machine, and VSO can all date stamp material and it can't be said to have been lost. Ive gone from 40% to 100% over the last 10 yrs in spurts by doing it this way. My initial 40% claim when I discharged in 2002 was handled completely by VSO but after that I took the lead on it and researched what they did and how they did it, and spend a lot of time in forums and in the Dept of Veterans Affairs claim appeal lookup reading citations to learn what worked and did not work and to see how arguments were constructed. There is not much that a VSO can do for you that you cant do on your own, and over time probability says you are your best advocate. 

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