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VA accredited representatives?

VA accredited reps are individuals who have undergone a form mazatec10/05/18
Used to work at the Board of Veterans Appeals reviewing clai formerbvaer10/05/18
mazatec (Oct 5, 2018 - 12:04 am)

VA accredited reps are individuals who have undergone a formal application and training process and are recognized by VA as being capable of assisting claimants with their affairs before VA, such as DD-214 discharge upgrades, applications for VA pension, service-connected benefits, etc. They can basically do whatever an attorney can do within the ambit of veterans benefits law, but are actually non-attorneys. Is there a demand for this kind of work? What's the pay like? Is this a viable JD advantage position for someone without licensure?

formerbvaer (Oct 5, 2018 - 11:10 am)

Used to work at the Board of Veterans Appeals reviewing claims appeals, where a huge percentage of vets are represented by a veteran service organization and an accredited rep. Some accredited reps are actually attorneys, most are not. From where I sat, the reps mainly didn't contribute much. They'd literally copy-paste their briefs for the veteran, and stand with them during the hearings. The good ones knew how to elicit testimony that we wanted to hear, the bad ones would stumble through a half-remembered script.

My impression of the accredited rep varied depending on which VSO or state agency they worked for. Some state agency VA accredited reps were awesome - I remember Oregon stood out to me as being exceptionally well prepared. Some VSOs were awesome too, like Vietnam Veterans of America - their reps wrote good briefs and submitted good evidence (though I think most of their reps are required to be attorneys). Weirdly, the worst ones came from the big VSOs like the Legion.

I had an offer to work at a VSO in the D.C. area, and the pay was in the $60k range. This was a licensed attorney position. I imagine the pay for non-attorneys is less.

Your best bet would be to check out the state veteran service departments. My guess is that their reps are paid on some sort of state government payscale that is reasonable and has good benefits.

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