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  • Avoid Scams – Get help from a VA accredited representative.

       (0 reviews)

    Tbird

    We want to ensure that Veterans, especially those who have served in wartime, are aware that certain individuals and businesses may try to take advantage of them.

    These entities are not typically recognized or approved by the VA, and some may misuse their VA certification. Remember to stay vigilant!

    Avoid Scams - Get help from a VA accredited representative
    Get competent representation.
    If you’re in need of guidance when filing a claim or appeal, it’s best to enlist the help of an accredited representative. Certified and trained in VA claims and appeals processes, these professionals have the expertise required to assist with your needs. Veterans Service Officers (VSOs) are available to represent veterans, service members, dependents and survivors. Gain insight into how an accredited representative can provide assistance by learning more about their services

    Requirements to be an accredited representative or a VSO?
    Accredited representatives and VSOs need to meet these requirements:

    Pass an exam
    Pass a background check
    Take continuing education courses to make sure they’re providing the most up-to-date information
    Recognized organizations and individuals can legally represent a Veteran, service member, dependent, or survivor before VA. Non-recognized organizations and individuals can provide information, but can’t be representatives.

    Note: Veterans Service Officers work for Veterans Service Organizations (both are called VSOs), as well as for local government offices.

    VSO - What they do
    Accredited representatives and VSOs need to meet these requirements:

    Pass an exam
    Pass a background check
    Take continuing education courses to make sure they’re providing the most up-to-date information
    Recognized organizations and individuals can legally represent a Veteran, service member, dependent, or survivor before VA. Non-recognized organizations and individuals can provide information, but can’t be representatives.

    Note: Veterans Service Officers work for Veterans Service Organizations (both are called VSOs), as well as for local government offices.

    What does an accredited representative or a VSO do?
     

    Accredited representatives and VSOs can help you understand and apply for VA benefits, like these:

    Financial support (monthly payments)
    Education
    Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E)
    Home loans
    Life insurance
    Pension
    Health care
    Burial benefits
    These trained professionals can also help in these ways:

    Help you gather supporting documents (like a doctor’s report or medical test results)
    File a claim or appeal on your behalf
    Provide added support, like helping with transportation to medical appointments or emergency funds
    Note: If your claim has a clear factual or legal error, your accredited representative or VSO can request a faster Higher-Level Review decision through a new pilot program called Claim Accuracy Request (CAR).

    Learn more about a Claim Accuracy Request (PDF)

    What does it cost to use an accredited representative or a VSO?

    In general, no individual or organization may charge you a fee to help you file your initial application for benefits. But they may charge you for unusual expenses. It’s only after we’ve made a decision about your original claim that VA-accredited claims agents and attorneys may charge for their services. Make sure you ask up front what, if any, fees you’ll be charged. If you believe a claims agent or attorney charged a fee that’s too high, you can challenge it.

    Find out more in the “How to Challenge a Fee” guide (PDF)

    How do I find an accredited representative or a VSO?

     

    You can find an accredited representative or a VSO in 1 of 2 ways:

    Go to eBenefits to find a local representative (including a recognized VSO, an attorney, or a claims agent) by state/territory, zip code, or the organization’s name.
    Go to eBenefits
    Or search the VA Office of the General Counsel’s list to find VA-recognized organizations and VA-accredited individuals by name, city, state, or zip code.
    Search the VA Office of the General Counsel’s list
    How do I set up an accredited representative or a VSO to work on my behalf?

    You’ll need to either use eBenefits or fill out a form and mail it in.

    Choose 1 of these ways to get set up:

    Use eBenefits to let us know you’ll be working with a representative or to change your current representation.
    Go to eBenefits
    To have a VSO help you, fill out an Appointment of Veterans Service Organization as Claimant’s Representative (VA Form 21-22).
    Get VA Form 21-22 to download
    To have a claims agent or attorney help you, fill out an Appointment of Individual as Claimant’s Representative (VA Form 21-22a).
    Get VA Form 21-22a to download
    If you’re filling out one of the forms, you’ll need to mail it to your nearest VA regional office. Please speak to the service organization or representative before you send your request.

    Source VA.gov


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