Is it legal or illegal to pay for the consultation (guidance) of applying for the VA Aid & Attendance Benefits?

Asked about 2 years ago - Santa Ana, CA

I would like to use one of these companies, but there are so many people saying that what they're doing is illegal.

There are companies out there charging people money for the following (not everything is listed):

1. Sending their clients a comprehensive Pre-Filing Package (includes forms and instructions from A to Z)
2. Guiding them through the paperwork process (step by step)
- if the client filled out something wrong, the Case Managers let them know that it’s wrong and fix the errors with them
- informing them verbally and in email which documents are still outstanding (when it was already stated in the Pre-Filing Package)
3. Explaining from A to Z how the paperwork process will be like
4. Having a VA Accredited Claims Agent prepare the application for the client for FREE

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Deanne L. Bonner Simpson

    Contributor Level 9

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    1

    Answered . I am not familiar with the companies you've referenced, but generally speaking, only accredited representatives may charge fees for representation in the VA Claims process. Additionally, fees may only be charged AFTER the VA has issued an inital decision on the claim, and the veteran has filed a Notice of Disagreement with the VA. Any advice and/or review of the initial claims application would be likely construed by the VA as assistance in applying for VA benefits, for which compensation is specifically not allowed. See 38 C.F.R. 14.636.

    Also, please see this link for answers to FAQs regarding compensation for representatives at the VA. http://www.va.gov/ogc/accred_faqs.asp

    Disclaimer: Transmission or receipt of information does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.
  2. Clifford Michael Farrell

    Contributor Level 19

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . VA claims are many times a complex nightmare to handle. I am sure that most non-attorney reps do a good job. But many are overworked, and many do not pay attention to details - and if they miss something, it is hard to sue them for malpractice.

    You might wish to ask these questions to an attorney who can explain the differences and answer your case specific questions in person. You can find an attorney who will answer questions about veteran benefits at http://www.vetadvocates.org/directory2.html

    I hope this information helps. Good luck to you!
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