Why You Should Hire an Attorney for Your VA Claims
A couple of days ago I received a call from a veteran who informed me he was told not to hire an attorney until he went to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veteran’s Claims (CAVC). The veteran described the old law passed after the Civil War. The Veteran Service Officer who had advised the veteran to wait to hire an attorney was describing the law prior to passage of Public Law 109-461 in December 2006. The Civil War era law was rescinded in order to help veterans. Why not take advantage of the new law designed to help you with your veteran’s benefits claim?
Public Law 109-461, The Veterans Benefits and Health Care and Information Technology Act 2006, now allows a veteran to hire an attorney after the veteran receives a rating decision and the veteran sends in a notice of disagreement with the respective veteran claim to the VA.
Until Public Law 109-461 was passed veterans could not hire an attorney until they actually reached the CAVC for representation with their claims. For any veteran that has pursued their VA claim, you understand many organizations exist to help you with your VA benefits claim. But only attorneys are permitted to practice in a court of law. The CAVC is an appellate court just below the U.S. Court for the Federal Circuit. The CAVC was created in 1988 to hear appeals from the Board of Veteran Appeals (BVA). Hiring an attorney only after you reach the CAVC is a mistake.
Attorneys are trained and permitted by law to do work National Service Officers or representatives cannot do, such as present oral arguments at the CAVC or the Federal Circuit. The VSO’s should see attorneys trained to handle VA claims as a means to relieve the 1100+ case load the VSO representatives currently are assigned. Attorneys, thereby provide expert representation to clients immediately after the VA Regional Office issues the initial denial. From that moment of the VA sending you the rating decision telling you “no” to your claim, you have to convince the VA they overlooked evidence proving your claim.
Attorneys are trained to prove cases, and a VA benefits claim is a case.