Attorneys For Veterans


Mi Corporal
MI.Net Member
Oct 23, 2006
But, reports differ on exact provisions of legislation.

As the 109th Congress hurried to leave town, the Veterans' Choice of Representation Act was included in an omnibus bill.

So, we know that veterans will now have the right to hire an attorney to help them with the claims process.

But, because the Daily Record hasn't been posted, we don't know exactly what was in the provision that was passed.

One report, in the Air Force Times said: "...includes a controversial provision allowing attorneys to be hired to help veterans with all stages of filing disability claims." That story here...

At about the same time, Rep. Steve Buyer (R-IN), outgoing Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, issued a press release that said: "The bill includes an historic provision allowing veterans to hire an agent or attorney to represent them after a notice of disagreement has been filed." Full press release here...

So, can veterans hire an attorney at the very beginning of the claims process? Or, do they have to file by themselves, or with Service Officer help, and then can only hire an attorney when they get a denial of the claim from the VA and then go to file a notice of disagreement? We'll have to wait and see on this.

Some other questions arise. Does this law take effect now, or does it begin in six months as one version stipulated?

And, will Service Officers be held to the same rules as attorneys when it comes to filing frivolous claims?

We'll try to sort this out for you as soon as possible.
However this goes, this is a great improvement for veterans.

The VA claims process is so difficult and adversarial that it only makes sense to have an attorney on your side.
Here's some background on the issue... and here...

And, here's some pro-and-con on the issue from the DAV (opposed) and from an attorney who represents veterans...

More coming up on this issue...........
Rocky, Thanks Bro.

Va & Attorneys - Law May Be Overturned

BY NEW CONGRESS -- Legal advocacy group claims
backroom deal will allow legislation to "be introduced
in the next session to repeal that portion of S-3421
that would permit attorney representation."


This came to me via email.
The information comes from a Bulletin-by-Fax newsletter from the Workers Injury Law & advocacy Group (WILG). Their web site is here..

It seems there was a backroom deal in the 109th Congress to pass the "Attorneys for Veterans" legislation, then have that law repealed by passing a new law in the 110th Congress.

It should be noted that the two biggest foes of this legislation are the DAV and VFW. If this legislation is overturned and veterans are not allowed to use attorneys in the VA claims process, we have those two organizations to thank.

Background on the legislation here...

Information from WILG is below:

Dear WILG Member,

Note: There is a very unusual background situation that has been going on on Capitol Hill regarding the Veterans' "bill" S-3421, signed into law by the President less than a week ago. (WILG will be providing you with more information on these unusual developments, as we review the unfolding events and deals.)

It is our understanding that there may have been some sort of quiet "back corridors" agreement reached between the two major Parties in order that the overall bill concerned (S-3421) would be allowed to pass earlier this month ... subject to a rare, but agreed-upon back-room "deal" for future introduction of a new bill to then repeal the Veterans' representation portion of the new law...all of this done so as not to hold up other provisions of the bill, in the last-minute scramble for passage of various pre-Holidays bills.

This type of relatively rare, "we-agree-to-enact, but-then-introduce-another-bill-to-repeal-a-portion of-the-new law" is not the way business is normally done in Congress. Nor is it "open and honest government."

We will have our work cut out for us, to help many justice groups --and the American public--see an impending travesty of justice for our country's returning Veterans. Many of them simply cannot capably represent themselves, as they suffer injuries, disabilities, or lack of understanding...which the Federal government can too often take advantage of, via dismissal of their claims and regardless of their merit.

(See the below for additional information from the Chair of WILG's Veterans' Law Committee of WILG.)

Randall Scott, for WILG -in Washington, DC

"I have learned that the attorney fee provision contained in S-3421 could be repealed during the next Congressional session. It is my understanding that S-3421 went through the Senate on unanimous consent. Before it passed, one Senator had placed a hold on the bill, which means that the bill would not have been passed without that Senator lifting his hold on the bill.

Apparently, this Senator objected to the attorney fee provision contained in the bill. My under-standing is that the Senator lifted the hold with the understanding that a new bill would be introduced in the next [Congressional] Session to repeal the portion of S-3421 that would permit attorney representation at the NOD stage.

Since the attorney fee portion of the bill will not be effective for 180 days after the date of enactment, I expect a bill will be introduced immediately in the new Session to repeal it.

Therefore, I think we need to be prepared to defend the right of veterans to hire counsel to represent them in their claims before the VA, in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

WILG Members should be prepared to have their clients write to their respective Representatives in support of S-3421, if and when a bill is introduced to repeal the attorney-fee provisions."

WILG's thanks go to Robert V. Chisholm, Esq. (RI) for his superb work & tracking of a new "law."

Larry Scott

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