Non-VA Accredited Organizations Taking Advantage of Vets

Greetings to All!

I’ve attached the latest list of organizations/companies and individuals who are filing claims for VA benefits for Veterans and their Widows who are not recognized nor accredited with the VA Office of the General Counsel to represent same.

In some instances, fees as high as $1,500.00 are being charged for assistance provided in filing these claims!  This is not allowed by Title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations citation 38 CFR 14.636!  ONLY a VA-accredited individual acting as an Agent for a Claimant, or Attorney, can charge a reasonable fee for services rendered, and ONLY on an appealed case after a “Notice of Disagreement” has been filed on a Decision issued by the VA Regional Office!  A reasonable fee in most cases is not more than 20% of any retroactive award received on a successful appeal.  You can read the full citation here:

http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=61564d998f344c176b6836d725755bce&rgn=div8&view=text&node=38:1.0.1.1.16.0.163.37&idno=38

HOWEVER, there is currently no citation in 38 CFR that allows for criminal penalties in the event fees are charged illegally.  The Protect our Disabled Heroes Act of 2011 (S. 1847), introduced by Florida Senator Marco Rubio on 11/10/2011 would

reinstate those penalties “with a fine as provided by Title 18 of the United States Code, or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both”  The Bill currently only has THREE co-sponsors!  You can view the text of the Bill by doing a Bill Number search for “S. 1847″ here:

www.thomas.loc.gov

The Veterans Benefits Act of 2011 (HR 2349), introduced by Representative Jon Runyan of New Jersey on 6/24/2011 contains a companion provision in Section 7.  It currently only has ONE co-sponsor!

I beseech you to encourage all persons you know to contact the offices of Senators Boxer and Feinstein, along with their Congressional Representative and demand they co-sponsor these Bills, to protect our Veterans and their Widows, ESPECIALLY THE ELDERLY, from these uncouth vultures who would prey on America’s Heroes FOR PROFIT!

You can check on the accreditation status of an Organization, Agent, Attorney or Veterans Service Organization Representative through the VA Office of the General Counsel’s Accreditation Search website at:

http://www.va.gov/ogc/apps/accreditation/index.asp

A list of the accredited Veterans Service Organizations in San Diego with telephone numbers is also attached for your convenience.  Please don’t hesitate to call me should you have any additional questions.

Best Regards,

Scott H. Langhoff

CPO, USN (Retired)

District Service Officer

Joint Outreach Service Office – San Diego County

American Legion & Veterans of Foreign Wars

Life Member, VFW Service Officers Hall of Fame

O: (619) 365-8263

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Co-Host of “Armed Forces Talk Radio” on www.ArmedForcesTalkRadio.com heard every Thursday at 10 AM Pacific Time.  All shows are archived and available for download or listening at any time!

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