Serving
Mohave County
July 2024
Volume 24 Issue 5
COMPLIMENTARY

Jul 2024 | Journal, July 2024 | 0 comments

Don’t fall for claims scams

Journal, July 2024 | 0 comments

July 2024

By Freddy Groves
While there’s no doubt that the PACT Act did a lot of good, opening up an additional 20 health conditions for eligibility for presumptive benefits, the sheer number of veterans who applied created delays in processing new claims. It also brought out the scammers, thieves and conmen. Those crooks offer so-called assistance with claims … for a fee.
Fact: You do not have to pay a fee to get help with an initial disability claim.
Fact: It is illegal for someone to charge you money to give any assistance in filing that claim.
The only ones who can legally help file your initial claim are the reps that have been accredited by the VA — and they cannot charge you a fee. Whether it’s an attorney or a Veterans Service Organization (VSO) rep, they must be accredited by the VA.
It will be tempting, however, to try to jump the claims line and put your trust in someone who promises to get you fast action. Don’t do it. Just wait. If you sign up with a scammer (who might call himself a coach or a consultant), you’ll be signing away future money. You’ll be asked to sign a contract that will give the thieves a percentage of your benefit money, forever.
You might sign away tens of thousands of dollars to have someone spend a few minutes filling out a form for you. If you renege on that deal, which is a legal contract, you could be haunted by debt collectors and sued, and the scammers will have all of your personal information, including Social Security number and banking details.
If you want to file an initial claim, hook up with an accredited person that you find on this site: www.va.gov/ogc/apps/accreditation/index.asp
If you want to file a subsequent claim, do that the right away as well, with an accredited person to help. While fees can be charged for subsequent or appeals claims, those fees must be reasonable.

(c) 2024 King Features Synd., Inc.

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