Get Help Filing a Claim
If you need help filing a disability claim, you may want to work with an accredited representative. We trust these professionals because they’re trained in the claims process and can help you with VA-related needs.
Most accredited representatives work for Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs). These private nonprofit groups advocate on behalf of Veterans and Servicemembers as well as their dependents and survivors.
What does it take to be an accredited representative?
Accredited representatives need to:
- Pass an exam
- Pass a background check
- Take continuing-education courses to make sure they’re 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 can’t be representatives.
What does an accredited representative do?
Accredited representatives help you understand and apply for VA benefits, like:
- Financial support (monthly payments)
- Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment (VR&E)
- Home loans
- Life insurance
- Health care
- Burial benefits
Accredited representatives can also help you gather supporting documents (like a doctor’s report or medical test results) and can file a claim on your behalf.
What does it cost to use an accredited representative?
Many VSOs provide their services free of charge, but they may ask you to pay them back for unusual expenses. However, VA-accredited claims agents and attorneys may charge for their services. Make sure you ask up front what, if any, fees you’ll be charged. If you believe you were charged a fee that’s too high by a claims agent or attorney, you can challenge it. Find out more in the “How to Challenge a Fee” guide.
How do I find an accredited representative?
You can find an accredited representative in 1 of 2 ways:
- 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 through eBenefits. Go to eBenefits.
- Use the VA Office of General Counsel’s list of VA-recognized organizations and VA-accredited individuals. You can get more information about choosing a representative or filing a complaint about your representative. See the VA Office of General Counsel list.
How do I set up a VSO or other accredited representative to work on my behalf?
You can set up a VSO or other representative to work on your behalf in 1 of 2 ways:
- Use eBenefits. Go online through eBenefits to let us know that you’ll be using a representative or to change your current representation.
- Complete VA Form 21-22. Mail this form to your nearest VA regional office. Please speak to the service organization or representative before you send your request. Find a VA regional office near you.