Are you in the process of filing for VA benefits? If so, you understand how confusing the entire process can be.
While this is the case, there are organizations and people who are available to help you. The most common entities that help with applying for VA benefits include:
· An accredited attorney
· A Veterans Service Officer (VSO)
You can trust these individuals because they have training and certification in the claims and appeals process. Because of this, you can count on their abilities and experience to provide you with your VA claim related needs.
The VSO, Accredited Claims Agent, & Attorney
These are individuals who works on behalf of service members and Veterans. They can also aid these individuals’ survivors and dependents. Keep reading to learn more to about how they can help you here.
What Services Can a VSO Help With?
Working with a VSO means having someone to help you apply for and understand different aspects of VA benefits. Some of the services they provide include:
· Financial support
· Life insurance
· Health care
· VR&E – Veteran Readiness and Employment
· Home loans
· Burial benefits
Along with helping with the factors listed here, these experienced and trained professionals can also help you gather any supporting documents, such as a medical record review or independent medical opinion. They can even file a claim or an appeal on your behalf and provide other support based on your situation. This may include helping you find transportation for any scheduled medical appointments or helping you to secure emergency funds.
A VSO can also request a Higher-Level Review decision if your claim has a legal or factual error, a supplemental claim, or other types of appeals. VSO’s will still provide these services at no cost to the veteran.
What Is the Cost of Using the Services an Accredited Claims Agent or Attorney?
In most cases, no organization or individual is allowed to charge you a fee for helping when you apply to receive benefits on an initial claim.
After a decision is made regarding your initial application if further action is required, an Accredited Claims Agent, or an attorney can start charging for the services they provide you. The fees vary, so it’s smart to ask them about their fees upfront. If you work with these agents and believe their fees are excessive, you have the right to challenge them. The VA will consider a percentage 20% or retroactive payments from a successful appeal as reasonable. In some cases, this can go up to 33 1/3% of retroactive payments from a successful appeal.
Finding a VSO for Help with Your Claim
There are a few ways that you can find a VSO or accredited representative to help with your claim. One of the most effective ways to do this is by searching the VA Office of the General Counsel to find organizations that are recognized by the VA and accredited individuals by location at the following link OGC – Accreditation Search (va.gov)
Getting Help with Your Claim for VA Benefits
While the process of securing VA benefits can be confusing and complex, help is available. It’s in your best interest to find the right person or organization to ensure that you get the assistance you deserve. With the help of a VSO or attorney, you can feel confident that you will have the best chance to get the benefits you are entitled to.