Q: Do veterans lawyers have to be accredited in order to represent VA claims?

A: Yes, veterans lawyers must be accredited by the Veterans Administration in order to help veterans prepare, submit and adjudicate claims. Lawyers that are not accredited can provide other advice to veterans, but cannot help prepare, present or otherwise represent their claims. This even applies to pro bono legal services provided to veterans. Be sure to ask veterans lawyers you are considering hiring to help you with your VA claim if they are accredited before you hire them.

Q: What is the regional office?

A: The Regional Office is where a veteran will submit his or her initial application for disability benefits with the VA. There are various Regional Offices throughout the nation. The Regional Office will provide a rating decision on that initial claim after it is reviewed. If a veteran disagrees with any or all aspects of that rating decision, he or she can file an appeal for reconsideration at the Regional Office level or an appeal via the Board of Veterans Appeals. Veterans are not allowed to enter fee based contracts with veterans lawyers until after the Regional Office has provided that initial rating decision. Once veterans have received their rating decisions, veterans lawyers can help them review those decisions and take the appropriate next steps to appeal.

Q: Is there a time limit for applying for VA disability benefits?

A: No, there is no time limit for applying for VA benefits for service connected injuries or conditions. Even if you have been out of the military for years, it is important to apply and not settle for less than the benefits to which you are entitled for your service.