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It’s not just a good idea; it’s the law. Title 38 of the United States Code, section 5901, states that, with limited exception, “no individual may act as an agent or attorney in the preparation, presentation, or prosecution of any claim under [veterans’ benefits laws] unless such individual has been recognized for such purposes by the Secretary [of the Department of Veterans Affairs].” While many people may review a veteran’s records or advise a veteran on potential benefits in a general way, only a person who is accredited by the VA can assist a veteran in preparing or pursuing a claim for benefits. As an experienced VA-accredited attorney helping West Palm Beach veterans and spouses with the Aid & Attendance program, Mark Shalloway understands the importance of retaining qualified assistance to help you obtain veterans’ benefits.
Only attorneys in good standing with the state bar and who have demonstrated sufficient knowledge, experience, and good moral character will be accepted for VA accreditation. In addition, attorneys must complete several hours of ongoing continuing legal education in order to maintain their accreditation.
In addition to accrediting attorneys, the VA also accredits claims agents and veterans service organizations (VSOs). Keep in mind that not all VSOs are recognized by the VA. Make sure that whomever you use is accredited by the VA. If the person or organization tries to charge you for filing an initial application or tries to get you to sign away a portion of your benefits as payment for their assistance, you may want to reconsider whether you have a qualified and trustworthy individual or organization or not.
If you need nursing care or assistance in daily living activities, the Veterans’ Aid and Attendance program can be a godsend, providing an additional monthly pension amount to help cover the additional expense. Actually getting those benefits in a timely manner, however, can be a burden. Attorney Mark Shalloway can help. In West Palm Beach and throughout Florida, contact Shalloway & Shalloway, P.A. at 561-686-6200.