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Veterans Law

How to Choose the Right Representative for Your VA Disability Claim

April Donahower

March 29, 2020

Updated: February 16, 2024

How to Choose the Right Representative for Your VA Disability Claim

The VA disability claims and appeals process can be very long and difficult to navigate.  As a result, many veterans seek assistance from representatives.  Learn more about how to choose the right representative for your VA disability claims and appeals below.

Has Your Representative Been Accredited by the VA?

When researching representatives to handle your VA disability claims and appeals, it is important to determine whether a representative is accredited by the VA.  Accreditation is crucial because it helps determine whether the representative meets or exceeds the minimum standards that are set forth by VA in order to represent you.  Specifically, these standards require that accredited individuals demonstrate that they possess an enhanced level of skill and expertise as well as substantial involvement in the specialty area of certification (in this case, veterans law).  Individuals and organizations who are not accredited by VA are not permitted to represent veterans.  When determining a representative’s accreditation status, it may be helpful to ask the following questions:

  • When did you receive accreditation?
  • How long have you been practicing veterans law?
  • When did you last attend a veterans law training?
  • Will you represent me before the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and are you qualified to represent me at the Agency level (i.e., Regional Office, Board of Veterans’ Appeals)?

Importantly, the VA provides a list of accredited representatives on its website.  If you know the name of a representative and would like to perform an accreditation search, you can do so using VA’s Accreditation Search.  After filling out the representative’s contact information, the website will list the person’s accreditation status and Power of Attorney (POA) code.

Representative Handles Your Case and Works with You Throughout Entire Process

A representative should be committed to work collaboratively with you and keep you informed and up to date on all the progress that is being made.  Representatives may help you gather evidence, including medical records, service records, lay statements, financial records, etc.  Furthermore, representatives can follow up with VA to obtain status updates on your case and ensure that it is being worked on in a timely manner.  Furthermore, representatives can help you initiate the appeals process if you receive an unfavorable decision from VA.  Since veterans must meet certain deadlines during the appeals process, it is helpful to have a representative who will keep you on track.  Ultimately, your representative should help you pursue your claim until there is no longer any grounds for appeal or until you receive the highest amount of benefits possible.

Representative Serves as a Resource

VA-accredited representatives are very familiar with the countless statutes and regulations that pertain to veterans law.  It is the responsibility of your representative to use this knowledge and apply it to the facts of your specific case.  When choosing a representative, veterans should feel comfortable consulting the accredited individual about complex laws and decisions from VA.  Additionally, representatives may work with private doctors and consultants (e.g., psychologists, orthopedic specialists, vocational rehabilitation specialists) to provide additional evidence and support for your claims when appropriate.  Overall, representatives should dedicate their resources towards your case in order to promote a positive outcome.

Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD: National Leaders in Veterans Disability Law

Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD (CCK) assists individual veterans with their VA disability claims and appeals, taking pride in serving those who have served our country.  Our firm has experience arguing cases before VA Regional offices, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.  CCK is committed to helping veterans receive the VA disability benefits to which they are rightfully entitled.  We offer an array of highly effective services tailored to our clients’ needs, based on the circumstances of their individual case.  At CCK, our clients benefit from our collaborative approach to practicing law.  We work to ensure that every client gets the individualized care and attention they deserve.  Importantly, our firm works on a contingency fee basis, meaning we do not get paid unless you do.  For a free case evaluation, call 800-544-9144.

About the Author

Bio photo of April Donahower

April joined Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick in August of 2016 as an Associate Attorney. She currently serves as the Appellate Supervisor in our Veterans Law practice. April’s practice focuses on representing disabled veterans before the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

See more about April