Anyone can help a Veteran file a claim.
Myth: A common myth about VA Pension Benefits is that anyone can help a veteran with a claim.
I often learn about unauthorized people, who make unsuitable recommendations while helping veterans with the claims process. These individuals are often breaking the law.
Fact: The law says that anyone can help a veteran with one claim. Helping someone “one time” can be misunderstood.
Title 38 CFR § 14.630 (a) states that any person may be authorized to prepare, present, and prosecute one claim. This allows a family member or friend to help a veteran with a claim.
This is clarified under Title 38 U.S.C. § 5901:
“Except as provided by section 500 of title 5, no individual may act as an agent or attorney in the preparation, presentation, or prosecution of any claim under laws administered by the Secretary unless such individual has been recognized for such purposes by the Secretary.” These are the people recognized by the Secretary.
- VA Accredited Attorneys
- VA Accredited Claims Agents**
- Veteran Service Officers
The VA added to the explanation in their Fast Letter 06-26: “Representation before VA consists of actions associated with the preparation, presentation, or prosecution of claim for a VA claimant … Among other things, representation includes counseling on veterans benefits, gathering information necessary to file a claim for benefits, preparing claim forms …”
This is violated by many well-meaning advisors, particularly those who are counseling on VA benefits and gathering information. Advisors cross the line as soon as they go from providing general education on VA benefits to answering specific questions, such as whether or not a veteran will qualify based on their current medical needs, wartime military service or if they have too many assets. This is a direct violation of the intent and spirit of the law.
So, as a health care professional, home health provider, assisted living community director or senior placement agent, when you make a referral, be sure that the person that you suggest is recognized by the VA as a VA Accredited Attorney, Accredited Claims Agent or Veteran Service Officer.
If you want to see if the person you are working with is authorized by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to help veterans see: https://www.va.gov/ogc/apps/accreditation/
**Feel free to contact Steve Dabbs, CMP™, VA Accredited Claims Agent if you have questions about VA Pension with Aid and Attendance benefits.
Call Steve Dabbs at 480-203-9592. Ask for “Steve”