VA Claim Decision Representation

Post date: Aug 31, 2011 2:11:37 AM

VA CLAIM DECISION REPRESENTATION: Congressman Lane Evans of Illinois, ranking Democrat on the House Veterans' Affairs Committee and Congresswoman Shelley Berkley of Nevada, ranking Democratic Member on the Committee's Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs, introduced a bill (H.R.4914) that would permit veterans to hire an attorney when they disagree with a benefits claims decision of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Currently, veterans are not allowed to hire an attorney until the end of the administrative appeals process, specifically, after the Board of Veterans Appeals has rendered a decision. Evans noted that many fine veterans service organizations have traditionally provided full representation to veterans and their families without cost and it is expected that these organizations would continue to represent most claimants. Nonetheless, he and Rep. Berkley believe that in this day and age, veterans should not be prohibited from hiring an attorney if they choose to do so. Berkley commented there is no good reason why Congress should prevent veterans from exercising their choice to seek legal representation and the present needless prohibition should have been ended ages ago.