Only under limited circumstances are Veterans are allowed to use an attorney to represent them on appeals from denial of benefits by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). In fact, prior to 2006, Veterans weren’t allowed to use an attorney at all when dealing with VA.
Why Can’t You Use an Attorney Right Away?
VA only lets you have attorney representation after: (1) you have filed a disability claim; and (2) VA has refused you your benefits.
Why You Should Use an Attorney in Pursuing Your Disability Benefits from VA
- Legal assistance can help you receive the maximum benefits to which you are entitled.
- An attorney offers you a significant advantage because laws and regulations for VA benefits are complex, often difficult to understand, and subject to frequent change.
- VA doesn’t want you to be represented because then it has an unfair advantage over you.
Having an attorney represent you before the VA hydra can reduce the fear, headaches, and uncertainty you would otherwise face alone. An attorney knows what to expect – and how to overcome obstacles VA places in your benefits path.
What Happens Then?
- Attorneys must be accredited by VA to represent you.
- Attorneys only get paid if you win your appeal and are awarded benefits
- VA can – and does – review and challenge attorney charges after you have won
- Attorney fees are capped by law: attorneys cannot charge more than 33%
What Does This Mean?
- VA has put you at a disadvantage because you haven’t had private legal advice at the time you originally filed your claim.
- VA is able to establish a legal record (its refusal) based on your original presentation – when you didn’t have an attorney.
- VA has lawyers working for it. But, they don’t let you have a lawyer work for you when you file your disability benefits claim.
How Can an Attorney Help Me?
- An attorney knows and understands the laws, regulations, and policies VA operates under. VA can’t get away with sloppiness and tricks.
- An attorney wants you to win.
- An attorney wants you to obtain the maximum benefits to which you are entitled by law.
- For the Law Office of Robert B. Goss, P.C. your fight with VA is a personal mission.
Why Doesn’t VA Want Attorneys to Help Veterans?
It has only been since late 2006 that Veterans have been permitted to have any attorney representation in dealing with VA. That’s when Congress finally saw through VA’s “argument” that attorneys hurt Veterans. Congress realized that it’s actually VA which is hurting Veterans by refusing to let Veterans – alone among all Americans – be represented by an attorney.
Think about this: Veterans are the only class of Americans prohibited from attorney representation when they file a claim with a Federal government agency. You can have an attorney represent you before the IRS. You can have an attorney represent you in Federal court. You can have an attorney prosecute your patent application. But, you still can’t have an attorney represent you when you present your benefits claim to VA.
Until Veterans are treated like full U.S. citizens with the right to representation by an attorney, we can only celebrate Veterans Day once a year.
Any claim requiring VA action should be filed immediately. The good news is, by taking prompt, early action, you are in the best position to maintain or improve your benefits situation. DON’T WAIT. Contact the Law Office of Robert B. Goss, P.C. today for your FREE consultation.