The truth is, very little of the general public knows about VA benefits because Congress keeps them, for the most part, under wraps. There are a select few who are legally authorized to provide information to veterans about benefits, and they are:
1) Federal Veterans Administration employees;
2) Employees of state Departments of Veteran’s Affairs;
3) Authorized representatives of Veterans Service Organizations (like the VFW and American Legion, among others); and
4) Attorneys licensed to practice law in the veteran’s state and accredited by the VA.
Lawyers, such as myself, are authorized to provide information on VA benefits. However, federal law prohibits a lawyer from charging a veteran to assist in helping them prepare the VA claim form for benefits; we are supposed to work for free. Congress does not always allow lawyers to charge a veteran in order to help with a VA benefit claim form because Congress has the idea that:
1) There are plenty of capable and trained VA employees available to help veterans fill out VA claim forms for free;
2) There are plenty of capable and trained volunteers available at the various Veteran’s Service Organizations to help fill out VA claim forms; and
3) Veterans should be protected from attorneys who would overcharge them by doing something that is supposedly as simple as completing and submitting a VA claim form.
So, I truly do recommend that if you have not already tried to get help from the Veterans Administration or a Veteran’s Service Organization, you do so immediately.
Like myself, they’re there to help.
-Anthony B. Ferraro