KNOW THE FACTS
When It Comes to VA Disability Claims Assistance

 
Image by Levi Meir Clancy

THE FACTS.

Veterans Guardian is a veteran owned and operated company, with a mission to assist other veterans in receiving the benefits they are entitled to as a result of their honorable service to the nation. Unfortunately, there are self-serving entities propagating misinformation and perpetuating falsehoods regarding VA disability benefit consultants.

 

We have decided to share a few common myths and facts to set the record straight. 

Myth: 

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Benefits Claim Consultants are predatory companies that are tricking veterans into paying for a service that they can get for free from Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs).

Fact:  

Veterans Guardian believes that every veteran should have the right to choose how to pursue their claim, either on their own, with the free services from VSOs or the paid services of a VA Benefits Claim Consultant. 

Veterans Guardian believes that every veteran should make an informed choice on how to best pursue their claim. To this end, we ensure that every client is aware that they can pursue a claim on their own or with the free services provided by VSOs.

Veterans Guardian provides a clear explanation of this on the front page of our website, as well as the link to the VA Office of General Counsel Accreditation Search Tool. Additionally, we require that each new client signs a simple acknowledgment that they understand free services are available, that Veterans Guardian is not an accredited agent, and that Veterans Guardian charges a contingent fee based on the success of their claim. 

No veteran becomes a client without understanding their choices and the fee structure and making an informed choice to utilize our services.

Myth: 

For-profit companies don't care about veterans.

Fact:  

Most for profit-companies are founded by veterans. At Veterans Guardian, not only are we veteran-owned and operated, our staff is 75% veterans, spouses of veterans or spouses of active duty servicemembers. Veteran disability claims are personal to us, and many of our own staff and/or family members have been clients of Veterans Guardian.

 

Additionally, with a contingent-fee based model, Veterans Guardian is incentivized to provide the best experience and achieve the best result possible for each veteran client.

Myth: 

For-profit companies are not trained or capable of providing quality disability claim service.

Fact:  

Veterans Guardian has a success rate of over 90%. Our experience is one of the keys to our success. Many of our staff have personally gone through the disability claims process, and we've successfully processed over 25,000 disability claims in the last 2 years.

 

Another key to our success is our specialization. VSOs are generalist that help with many different veterans issues. Whereas, we specialize in the VA disability process to ensure that every claim has the best possible chance to be approved in the continually changing VA disability environment.

Myth: 

Accreditation is a rigorous process that ensures highly trained and capable agents handle disability claims.

Fact:  

Accreditation is a cursory process at best. 

 

VSO representatives only have to pass a limited background check and receive approval from their parent organization to become accredited. Attorneys only have to be in good standing with the state bar, fill out a form and pass a cursory background check. They're not even required to have experience in veteran law. Accredited agents (any individual who is neither a service organization representative nor an attorney) are the only individuals that must pass an initial test with a grade of 75% or higher.  Meanwhile, many veterans can successfully submit disability claims on their own - accreditation simply doesn't matter.

Myth: 

Any unaccredited disability benefits consultant is acting illegally.

Fact:  

Federal and state laws DO NOT prohibit private claims consultants from assisting veterans with their disability claims. Critics attempt to scare veterans into believing that accredited agents are the only ones that can assist with disability claims by asserting that private companies are conducting illegal activities. The truth is that this is their attempt to divert attention away from the fact that oftentimes, private companies like Veterans Guardian outperform them. Furthermore, while there have been misguided attempts in Congress to bar companies like ours from assisting veterans with their claims, those efforts have repeatedly  failed.

Myth: 

Veterans Guardian is actively avoiding federal accreditation, in order to avoid oversight and regulation.

Fact:  

Veterans Guardian is and has been actively seeking federal accreditation.

 

Veterans Guardian continues to be a leading advocate for veterans and for not limiting their choices when it comes to filing their disability claims. We welcome accreditation and believe that the VA process should be more inclusive, with additional oversight. VSOs, like the VFW and American Legion, have been working against these efforts, effectively limiting the veteran's right to choose.

Myth: 

Assistance provided by VSOs for benefits claims are widely available to veterans across the country at an expedited speed.

Fact:  

While good intentioned, VSO groups can be understaffed and under-resourced in many areas of the country. This leads to bureaucratic slow down and limited offerings for veterans.

 

Local representatives and members of VSOs don't solely focus on just disability claims and simply don't have the time or expertise to focus on individual disability claims.

 

Additionally, VA figures about the number of accredited agents and VSOs are misleading. A county VSO can be considered a claims agent for multiple agencies, potentially increasing the amount of reported accredited agents by 5x (times), per agent. Our veterans deserve as many options as possible and should be free to choose who they believe will achieve the best outcome for them in a timely manner.

Myth: 

Non-profits, like VSOs, are well-equipped to provide claim support for free. 

Fact:  

For some veterans, organizations like the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the American Legion, or local, volunteer veteran service officers, are the right partner to assist in claim preparation. There is no doubt that many VSOs do incredible charitable work but may not have the time or competence to handle some claims. But for many complicated claims, private sector expertise, competence, and involvement are crucial. At Veterans Guardian,  our staff is focused on and committed to getting the VA to recognize what each veteran is entitled to. Veterans Guardian takes no money up front and does not take a penny from a veteran unless we have increased the amount of their disability benefit for life.

Myth: 

There is endemic corruption and “claim sharking” in the disability benefits space.

Fact:  

It is true that there is corruption and malfeasance in the claims consulting industry – among both accredited and unaccredited consultants. Many companies require a "membership fee" and others require the purchase of their materials before they will assist with a disability claim. Some companies even require a consulting fee plus a 20-30% payment of any back pay awarded to a veteran's claim. Veterans Guardian does none of that. Because we refuse any compensation before a successful benefit adjustment, we act in a fiduciary capacity for the veterans we serve. We win when the veteran wins, and any compensation for our services comes exclusively from new benefits, paid over a period of time that works for the veteran. 

Myth: 

VA benefits claim consultants are scam artists who are trying to take advantage of our veteran population.

Fact:  

The fact is that entities such as the American Legion and the VFW believe that they are the only organizations capable of providing claims services to veterans.

One only has to look at two recent publications where these organizations provide misinformation about claims consulting companies. The American Legion highlights the "predatory behavior" of one company - run by a VA accredited agent. The VFW, in their newsletter, claims that even VA accredited lawyers are incapable of providing satisfactory claims service to veterans (Read "Message from your National Council Member" on page 6, continued on Page 12). As Mr. Hanson writes, "The fact is the VFW service officers are more thoroughly trained in this process than any attorney in the Country." 

It is apparent that their motives are self-serving. If accreditation is the benchmark, then bashing of other accredited agents and lawyers shouldn't be necessary.

Veterans Guardian is a veteran owned and operated company. Our team is unapologetically patriotic. Our staff are experts in their field, determined in all that they do. We operate with a mission driven approach, and we understand that a veteran's success is our success. As fellow veterans, we realize our freedoms are courtesy of the 1% of Americans brave enough to sacrifice so much for the other 99%.

Myth: 

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is easy to navigate, and most often results in the proper level of disability benefits.

Fact:  

Anyone who has filed a disability claim with the VA knows that the system is extremely onerous and time consuming. Look no further than the VA disability claims backlog: There are over 243,000 pending claims that are considered to be backlogged, or older than 125 days since submission. That’s over one-third of active claims, and it’s shameful. 

Myth: 

The VA does a good job of identifying, treating and compensating veterans’ specific disabilities. 

Fact:  

The VA requires that claimants provide proof of their disability, proof of eligibility for VA disability benefits, proof that their disability is related to military service, and medical evidence of all of the above. Many disabled veterans need assistance collecting, vetting, packaging and providing these materials, ranging from general guidance to medical evaluations, to hands-on preparation of their claims. To argue that the VA is an ally in this process is akin to arguing that the IRS is helpful in tax preparation. 

 

ABOUT.

This website exists for informational purposes by Veterans Guardian VA Claim Consulting.

For questions and feedback, please email Brian.M.Johnson@Vetsguardian.com