Filing a VA Claim is Free – Beware of Companies that Charge
Filing a claim with VA is free and veterans should beware of companies that charge for it. In fact, VA prohibits accredited claims agents from charging veterans to file initial claims of any type, including for education benefits and disability compensation. Moreover, veterans can get plenty of help for free. Veterans can use a web-based application on va.gov to file their own claims, or can get free help from veteran service organizations that employ accredited claims representatives to assist veterans for free. Free help is available and veterans should not pay anyone to file a claim.
Some for-profit companies, however, have started using a loophole in the law to charge veterans for doing the same thing. These companies help veterans file their initial benefits claims, but charge a fee. Although this would be a prohibited practice for anyone who is accredited by VA to be a claims agent, the punishment for violating the law is that the claims agent’s accreditation gets revoked. The loophole is that these for-profit companies are not accredited by VA to be claims agents, therefore there is nothing for VA to revoke for violating the law.
Veterans service organizations and veteran advocates have taken note of this practice and are currently working with both VA and Congress to close this loophole in the law and strengthen enforcement. For now, we want to remind all veterans to please remember you never have to pay anyone to get help filing your claim. You can get free help from The American Legion, VFW, DAV, and others. And if you have concerns about your education benefits claim, email [email protected] for free assistance.