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Question DetailsAsked on 9/21/2011

nIs American Veterans Aid, out of California a legitimate company that assists veterans in obtaining pension benefits?

This company wants $750 to assist in filling out all of the paper work required by the Veterans Administration to gain $1K - $2K per month for assistance in caring for veterans in need of "assisted living" or "skilled nursing care". The VA usually takes 9-12 months to process this type of applications. This company says they can get a response from the VA within 2-4 months. I want to make sure this is not just a scam company. Any feedback experience would be greatly appreciated.

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3 Answers

1
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There is a Federal Law against charging to assist with this paperwork. You can do it for no charge and there are companies that help with NO charge that have accredited representatives. Do more searching!
There is a letter published by the VA that addresses this issue:

January 3,2007
Director (00121)
All VA Regional Offices and Centers
In Reply Refer To:216C
Fast Letter 06-29

SUBJ: Unauthorized Representation of Claimants and Unlawful Solicitation of Fees

There have been reports about individuals employed by private companies who claim to help veterans and their dependents apply for VA benefits. Some of these individuals have targeted elderly claimants
at assisted living facilities. They give claimants the impression that they are employed by VA.

Representation
Representation before VA consists of actions associated with the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims for a VA claimant. A claimant is a person who has filed or has expressed an
intention to file a written application for benefits. Among other things, representation may include counseling on veterans benefits, gathering information necessary to file a claim for benefits, preparing claim forms, submitting claim information to VA, and communicating with VA on a
claimant's behalf.
Organizations and individuals that represent claimants for VA benefits are subject to specific statutory and regulatory requirements. Section 5901 of title 38, United States Code, provides, "no individual may act as an agent or attorney in the preparation, presentation, or prosecution of any claim under laws administered by the Secretary [of Veterans Affairs] unless such individual has been recognized for such purposes by the Secretary." While VA can authorize an individual to
prepare a benefit claim for a veteran on a one-time basis, this authorization cannot be used a second time without the approval
of the VA's General Counsel.
Solicitation of Fees
Accredited attorneys and agents are allowed to charge fees for representational services they provide after the Board of Veterans'Appeals makes a final decision in a case. VA's regulations
provide a naffow exception to the general rule whereby a "disinterested" third-party may pay an accredited attorney or agent for services provided before a final Board decision, and that representation can include the preparation of claims. Some organizations that do not qualify for VA recognition structure their business to receive
payment for their services from claimants' private care providers in an effort to avoid criminal penalties. The care providers typically do not know that these organizations are prohibited by law from preparing claims and charging fees, and are generally unaware of the services provided freely by recognized veterans service organizations.

Recognized Representatives

VA currently recognizes 87 veterans service organizations consisting of 37 national organizations and 50 State and regional organizations for purposes ofrepresenting veterans before the Department. All of these organizations provide representation at no cost to the veteran, and by law may not charge any other person for representation before the Department. You can verify the recognition of organizations and accreditation of individuals on the General Counsel's web page. Go to www.va.gov.

Source: http://www.va.gov.

Answered 5 years ago by happy trails

1
Vote

As noted in the other comment, it is illegal for anyone to charge for help in filling out VA forms and applications for benefits.

If you google this phrase, you will see this organization has quite a few red flag comments and complaints regarding it, enough that I would be very concerned - American Veterans Aid complaints

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

1
Vote

Their biggest selling point of the American Veterans Aid out of California is that their Agent is accredited by the VA, and even provide a link to the VA that seems to verify that claim.


http://americanveteransaid.com/va_acc...


I also realize how disorganized and inefficient the US Government is, so I don't trust what the VA webpage says.


Bottom line if you need Aid & Attendants, good luck. The law is a lot more complicated than you think. You can try to get it yourself by calling a VA center near you.


If bad comes to worse, if your loved one is in the hospital for three days, Medicare will pay for nursing home care up to 100 days; social workers can try to get your loved one on Medicaid for permanent nursing home placement but the government will confiscate the entire estate (except the house--but once the person dies everything goes into probate). You are better off consulting an eldercare attorney. They can get the house deeded to an heir via "Ladybird Quick Deed". You better do it right because the government is dirty when it comes to money.



Answered 2 years ago by cetude




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