Get Help Filing a Claim

When filing a disability claim, it may help to work with an accredited representative who is familiar with the process and who VA considers capable of assisting you with VA-related affairs.

Most accredited representatives work for Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs), which are private nonprofit groups that advocate on behalf of Veterans, Servicemembers, dependents, and survivors. They may also work for state or county governments.

The accreditation process includes the following:

  • An examination
  • A background investigation
  • Continuing education requirements to ensure representatives are providing the most up-to-date information

Recognized organizations and individuals can legally represent a Veteran, Servicemember, dependent, or survivor before VA. Non-recognized organizations and individuals can provide information but cannot be representatives.

What is the role of an accredited representative?

Accredited representatives are trained to help you understand and apply for any VA benefits you may be entitled to, including:

  • Compensation
  • Education
  • Vocational rehabilitation and employment
  • Home loans
  • Life insurance
  • Pension
  • Health care
  • Burial benefits

Additionally, accredited representatives can help you gather evidence and can submit a Fully Developed Claim on your behalf.

Is there a cost?

Many VSOs provide their services free of charge, though they may request reimbursement for unusual expenses. Unlike VSOs, VA-accredited claims agents and attorneys may charge for their services. If you believe you were charged an unreasonable fee by a claims agent or attorney, see How to Challenge a Fee.

How do I find a representative?

  • You can find a local representative, including a recognized VSO, an attorney, or a claims agent, by state/territory, zip code, or the organization’s name online using eBenefits.
  • To find a VSO office located in or near your local regional benefit office, use our directory of VSOs.

The VA Office of General Counsel also maintains a list of VA-recognized organizations and VA-accredited individuals authorized to assist in the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of VA benefit claims. You can get more information about selecting a representative or file a complaint about your representative.

How do I designate a VSO or representative?

There are two ways to do this:

  1. Use eBenefits. You can notify VA that you will be using a representative or modify your current representation online using eBenefits.

  2. Complete VA Form 21-22. Mail this form to your nearest VA regional office. Please speak to the service organization or representative before you submit your request.