Veterans, I’ll be the first to admit I love my Veteran Service Officer.
We need accredited VSOs and accredited claim agents to help you navigate the tumultious waters of the VA claim process.
But before you go hiring a Veteran Service Officer to help you with your VA disability claim, I think it’s important to understand how your Veteran Service Officer might be screwing up your VA claim.
In this post, I explain 5 Reasons Why Veterans Don’t Need a Veteran Service Officer.
- 1. Veteran Service Officers “file” VA disability claims for FREE
- 2. A Veteran Service Officer is simply a “process owners.”
- 3. Veteran Service Officers are overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated
- 4. A Veteran Service Officer can lack specialized VA claims knowledge
- 5. A Veteran Service Officer is NOT a trained medical professional
1. Veteran Service Officers “file” VA disability claims for FREE
Free is awesome.
Everybody loves free.
But oftentimes, you get what you pay for.
Before you go searching for a Veteran Service Officer to help you with your VA disability claim, you might want to think about some things…
You need to understanding there is a huge difference between filing a VA disability claim and filing a “winning” VA disability claim.
Filing a VA disability claim is really easy.
You should never pay someone to help you with that, because you can do it yourself online in about two minutes or less inside eBenefits or VA.gov.
A few clicks here and a few clicks there, and boom, you just submitted your VA claim.
This is exactly what your VSO does for you.
They “submit” your VA disability claim and they have Power of Attorney to act on your behalf.
The problem here is that a VSO has no “skin-in-the-game” when they take you on as their client.
Regardless of what happens at the end, win, lose, or draw, it doesn’t affect them.
Your VSO still gets paid, and you still get screwed, regardless of the outcome.
According to our data, this is exactly why 8/10 veterans are underrated, meaning you do not currently have the VA disability rating and compensation they deserve.
Translation: This means you could be missing out on thousands of dollars of tax-free income and benefits that you should be getting each month.
2. A Veteran Service Officer is simply a “process owners.”
When you a hire a VSO, you’re getting a person who understands the VA claim process.
Again though, this part is not hard.
In fact, it’s really easy.
Your VSO will likely ask you for a laundry list of documents, such as your full name, social security number, date of birth, your medical records, any dependent birth certificates, power of attorney, and a list of things you think you’re eligible for regarding your VA disability.
Aren’t these all things you can upload to eBenefits or VA.gov yourself?
My point here is you don’t need to hire somebody to own the VA claim process.
YOU need to own the VA claim process.
Nobody should care about your VA disability claim more than you do…
3. Veteran Service Officers are overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated
How motivated will a VSO be to go above and beyond with helping you and your VA claim when they can barely feed their own family?
Truth bomb: Many VSOs are paid at about the poverty line, have way more veterans that need help then they can possibly serve, and many of them are part-time workers stuck in non-profit cultures of low performance and unaccountability.
A few months ago I picked up the phone and called the sole VSO who services all of JBSA-Randolph in San Antonio, Texas (15,000+ people on-base).
After sending three emails and making four phone calls over a two week span, with no response, I finally drove over to his facility on-base.
I asked him if he could help me with my VA claim.
He angrily responded with “Sorry, you need to make an appointment.”
When I told him I had attempted to make an appointment seven different times, he gruffed a bit under his breath and mentioned he’d been out sick.
He then went on a rant about how he’s the only one serving all these people on base and he has no help and blah blah blah, and then proceeded to tell me he could see me in-person in two months…
I thanked him for his time, and walked out.
My fellow veterans, this is what we’re up against: VSOs who are overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated.
I don’t know about you, but how likely is this Veteran Service Officer to help a fellow veteran file a winning VA disability claim?
And once again, where are you going to get the medical evidence you need to prove service connection and get rated at the appropriate level under the law?
4. A Veteran Service Officer can lack specialized VA claims knowledge
About a year ago, we experimented with having a former accredited Veteran Service Officer join our team at VA Claims Insider.
The experiment lasted a total of 5 days.
No matter how much education, training, strategy, and medical consulting advice we gave him, the uptake was literally non-existant.
He couldn’t learn and apply the necessary specialized VA claims knowledge needed to help veterans set-up the right VA claim strategy and obtain the appropriate medical evidence needed to prove service connection and get rated at the appropriate level under CFR 38.
The next time you see your Veteran Service Officer, I’d like you to ask them a few questions:
- I’d like to file my Obstructive Sleep Apnea secondary to another service-connected disability I already have, which one should I choose and why? Click HERE to read about Sleep Apnea Secondary Conditions.
- I was previously denied my non-combat PTSD claim because I couldn’t prove my in-service stressor events. Do you know why this might have happened and the best strategy for me since I was just denied 6 months ago?
- Because of the current service-connected disabilities I suffer from, I now have daily chronic pain. I’d like to file a VA disability claim for Chronic Pain Syndrome, should I go primary or secondary, and do I need any other supporting medical evidence to help me win and service connect my claim?
If your VSO can’t answer these questions with confidence, this should be an immediate red-flag that you’re in the wrong place.
It’s kind of like hiring a nurse to do brain surgery.
The nurse has some general medical knowledge and can assist you with simple questions about your health and various medications.
In contrast, a Brain Surgeon possesses highly specialized knowledge and recent and relevant experience doing brain surgery.
Which one would you rather have doing the surgery?
While your VA claim isn’t brain surgery, it does require highly specialized VA claims knowledge as well as recent and relevant experience navigating the VA disability claim system.
It’s also critical to obtain medical evidence, such as Disability Benefit Questionaires (DBQs) and Independent Medical Opinions, also known as Medical Nexus Letters from qualified medical providers.
That’s what WE DO at VA Claims Insider.
We connect veterans with the right medical professional for DBQs and Medical Nexus Opinions in support of your VA claim.
5. A Veteran Service Officer is NOT a trained medical professional
This is arguably the MOST IMPORTANT one on this list.
The number one reason why VA disability claims get denied is due to a lack of medical evidence.
The number two reason is because the Rating Veteran Service Representative, also known as the RVSR, is unable to determine the Nexus, which is the logical link or connection to an in-service injury or event that led to the disability you suffer from today.
The success of your VA disability claim largely comes down to medical evidence, in the form of Disability Benefit Questionnaires (DBQs) and Medical Nexus Letters.
Only trained and certified medical professionals can provide you with the DBQs and Medical Nexus Letters needed to win, service-connect, and rate your various disabilities at the appropriate level under the law.
Think of it another way: It’s kind of like hiring a Plumber to do Electrical work in your home.
A Plumber is very good at all things plumbing related, but doesn’t know the first thing about your Electrical systems, and isn’t training and certified to sign off on things to code and in accordance with local, state, and federal law.
Very rarely do we see veterans lose their VA disability claim on a process issue or a technicality.
In nearly every situation, it comes down to a lack of medical evidence, and/or a bad C&P examiner.
Please do me a favor and share this article with fellow veterans.
We need to get the word out that veterans have the option to file their own VA disability claim online and represent themselves in the process.
Botton line is don’t let yourself get stuck with a bad Veteran Service Officer —you have options!
You might also like my video, “Are You My Veteran Service Officer?”
Click below to watch now.
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About the Author
Founder & CEO
Brian Reese is a VA benefits expert, author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller You Deserve It: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Veteran Benefits You’ve Earned, and founder of VA Claims Insider – “The Most Trusted Name in Education-Based Resources for Veterans.”
His frustration with the 8-step VA disability claims process led him to create “VA Claims Insider,” which provides U.S. military veterans with tips, strategies, and lessons learned for successfully submitting or re-submitting a winning VA disability compensation claim.
Brian is also the CEO of Military Disability Made Easy, which is the world’s largest free searchable database for all things related to DoD disability and VA disability claims and has served more than 4,600,000 military members and veterans since its founding in 2013.
His eBook, the “9 Secrets Strategies for Winning Your VA Disability Claim” has been downloaded more than 300,000 times in the past three years and is the #1 rated free VA disability claims guide for veterans.
He is a former active duty Air Force officer with extensive experience leading hundreds of individuals and multi-functional teams in challenging international environments, including a combat tour to Afghanistan in 2011 supporting Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.
Brian is a Distinguished Graduate of Management from the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO and he holds an MBA from Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business, Stillwater, OK, where he was a National Honor Scholar (Top 1% of Graduate School class).