I’ve never believed that a veteran should start the claims process with paying for representation. The Department of Veterans Affairs has a duty to assist, yet in many cases, I’ve seen veterans needlessly pay for results that they could have achieved at no cost from DAV.

But when it comes to unaccredited representatives who charge unnecessary fees to veterans, their families and their survivors, we can all agree that criminal penalties should exist. And that’s why DAV strongly supports the GUARD VA Benefits Act.

This important legislation would reinstate criminal penalties for those entities that unnecessarily charge veterans and their families fees for preparing a claim.

To be clear, we are talking about companies created with the knowledge and intent of violating the law. Many of them have even refused to stop their practices despite receiving cease-and-desist letters from the VA Office of General Counsel.

Now these illegal claims companies seek to legitimize themselves through legislation that would allow for their accreditation. There is already a process for these companies to become accredited, and these efforts are an effort to circumvent a well-established process due to their insatiable greed.

For many of our nation’s disabled veterans, VA disability compensation can be the difference between making ends meet and more severe outcomes such as homelessness or suicide.

DAV believes that no veteran should have to pay to file a claim under any circumstance.

Yet some companies view those who have paid a price through their service and sacrifice as cash cows. They’ll do it by claiming they can do what organizations like DAV can’t.

And they’re wrong.

With over a century of service to America’s disabled veterans, DAV and fellow VA-accredited benefits advocates will continue providing assistance to our nation’s heroes and their families.

And we’ll do it at no cost.

Because when our fellow veterans come to us for assistance, they deserve a hand up and not a hand that reaches into their pockets.

These predatory companies must be stopped. Passage of the GUARD VA Benefits Act will ensure they can no longer continue their illegal practices.


For more information:

If you or another veteran needs any type of claims assistance, PACT Act-related or otherwise, reach out to a DAV benefits advocate at benefitsquestions.org.

Find updates on the GUARD VA Benefits Act and other major veterans legislation by joining DAV CAN (Commander’s Action Network) at davcan.org.