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Steer Clear of VA ‘Claims Sharks’

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Larry D. Moore

Unaccredited VA disability claim representatives (claims sharks) numbers continue to rise. The VSC wants to make sure Veterans and dependents know their options when it comes to applying for earned VA benefits and disability compensation.

Veterans and their dependents need to be aware of companies that offer help filing a VA claim with promises of boosting the Veteran’s current disability compensation. They promise things that a Veteran or dependent can receive for free.

Some telltale signs unaccredited companies use to attract Veterans and dependents include:

  • Promising a “guaranteed” raise in disability compensation.

  • Telling clients that they can “start for free.”

  • Providing “coaching” during the VA disability claims process.

  • Using language such as, “If you don’t get any benefits, you don’t pay anything.”

Often, claims sharks, also known as unaccredited consulting groups, will charge five times the amount of the Veteran’s retroactive compensation, potentially costing him or her thousands of dollars. Depending on his or her contract, a Veteran might not be able to get out of an agreement with an unaccredited organization or person.

The first question anyone should ask is: ‘Are you accredited with the Department of Veterans Affairs?’

Anyone filing a VA disability claim should only work with organizations that are accredited with the VA. VA Accredited Service Officers can help with all aspects of the process. You can expect to receive a full claims assistance service — free of charge — when working with a Veterans Service Officer. They act as a Veteran’s power of attorney when it comes to handling VA disability claims. This is something claims sharks and “unaccredited consulting groups” are not legally allowed to do. Accredited organizations are held to a high standard of privacy when dealing with a Veteran’s health care information.

I encourage anyone who feels uncomfortable working with an organization on their VA disability claims to reach out to a County Veterans Service Officer (CVSO). All of Ohio’s 88 counties have VA Accredited CVSOs.

County Veterans Service Officers are here to help and answer questions. We try to clear up any misconceptions a Veteran might have about the process.

In Appreciation,

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Executive Director

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