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Myth vs Facts

Myth: A veteran must hire a local attorney to assist him or her with a VA disability claim appeal.
Fact: VA is a federal agency that operates under a system of federal administrative laws. So, a veterans attorney licensed to practice law in only one state (usually where he or she resides) can represent a veteran or family member with a VA appeal no matter in which state that claimant lives. Many veterans attorneys represent veterans across the nation. A veteran should find an attorney who is competent in the area of veterans disability claims and has an established reputation for providing quality legal help for veterans. Asking fellow veterans for a personal recommendation is a good way to locate a veterans attorney experienced in the VA appeals process.


Myth: VA will deny or delay a veterans disability claim appeal because he or she is represented by a veterans attorney.
Fact: VA has no love of veterans attorneys. However, every VA office handles disability claims for veterans who are represented by attorneys and statistically those veterans have a higher rate of success on appeal than veterans without legal help. In any case, ultimately every VA disability claim must be determined by the evidence. A veterans attorney can help make sure that VA properly considers both.


Myth: Hiring a veterans attorney will get the VA to make a decision on your VA appeal sooner.
Fact: Hiring a veterans law attorney will not speed up or slow down the VA appeals process. But, a competent, knowledgeable veterans attorney will make sure that all relevant laws and regulations are properly applied to the veterans appeal. This can mean that a correct decision on the veteran's VA claims is obtained without the need to appeal again and again.


Myth: A veteran should hire a attorney (and pay a fee) to file his VA disability claim for VA benefits so that it is quickly processed and granted.
Fact: An attorney cannot properly represent a veteran and charge a fee unless and until VA issues a decision with which the veteran disagrees (files a Notice of Disagreement). Other types of advocates are available to help veterans file VA disability applications and other administrative paperwork. Veterans attorneys are trained to -- and can only charge a fee for providing legal help for veterans with appeals of denied VA claims.


Myth: If a veteran hires a veterans attorney and receives an award for his VA disability claim, the veterans attorney will get a part of every future payment VA benefits.
Fact: Veteran attorney fees in VA disability claims cases are strictly regulated by federal law, in addition to state laws generally regulating attorney conduct. A veterans attorney can charge an hourly rate, a fixed fee, or a portion of the retroactive benefits awarded to the veteran. Most attorney fees in veterans benefit cases are contingency fees, which means the attorney is paid only if the veteran is successful with his or her claim. But, a veterans attorney cannot charge a veteran any part of a future VA disability claim benefits payment.


Myth: Some veterans attorneys specialize in getting 100% disability ratings.
Fact: An attorney can only provide legal help for a veteran in trying to obtain the highest rating that the evidence and the law allow. In some cases, the evidence supports a 100% rating and in others it does not. In any case, no veterans attorney can or should promise any particular result. He or she can only promise to do their best to get the most favorable result for the veteran.


Tad McLeod
2909 Devine Street
Columbia, SC 29205
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Doug Rosinski
701 Gervais Street Ste 150-405
Columbia, SC 29201
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