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VA accredited representative FAQs

Get answers to common questions about VA-accredited representatives. VA’s Office of General Counsel accredits 3 types of representatives: Veterans Service Organization (VSO) representatives, attorneys, and claims agents. These individuals can provide you with responsible, qualified representation on your VA benefit claims.

Get help from a representative or VSO

Choosing a type of accredited representative to work with

All VA-accredited representatives are authorized to provide help with VA benefit claims to Veterans and service members, as well as their dependents and survivors. Keep reading to learn about the differences between the 3 types of accredited representatives.

Note: If someone isn’t recognized by VA, they can’t legally help you with a VA benefit claim.

Learn about actions that require accreditation

Learn about unaccredited individuals and organizations from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

What services do accredited VSO representatives often provide?

An accredited VSO representative can help you gather evidence, file a claim, or request a decision review. And they can communicate with VA on your behalf. The services that an accredited VSO representative provides on your VA benefit claim are always free.

Veterans use accredited VSO representatives more often than other types of representatives on initial benefit claims. 

Note: Generally, when you work with an accredited VSO representative, the Veterans Service Organization as a whole is representing you.

Check our list of VA-recognized Veterans Service Organizations

What services do accredited attorneys or claims agents often provide?

Some VA-accredited attorneys and claims agents provide services for free on initial claims. But most accredited attorneys and claims agents offer their services after we’ve made a decision on your initial claim. At this stage in the claims process, we permit them to charge fees for their services.

Accredited attorneys and claims agents can help gather additional evidence and write legal arguments for your Supplemental Claim, Higher-Level Review, or appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.

Other questions you may have about accredited representatives

VA’s Office of General Counsel administers the VA accreditation process. To get accredited, a person must have good character and a good reputation. They must be capable of providing responsible, qualified representation.

The requirements are specific to the type of accreditation. Here are some of the requirements to becoming accredited:

  • An accredited VSO representative must be recommended to the Office of General Counsel by a VA-recognized VSO
  • An accredited attorney must be a member in good standing of at least one state bar
  • An accredited claims agent must pass a written test about VA laws and procedures

You can discharge your accredited representative at any time and for any reason. Or, you can appoint a new accredited representative to replace your current one. If you do, you should tell your former accredited representative of your decision right away.

Find and appoint an accredited representative

Choose 1 of these 3 ways to cancel your representation:

  • Call us at 800-827-1000 (TTY: 711).
  • Mail a letter to this address:
    Claims Intake Center
    PO BOX 4444
    Janesville, WI 53547
  • Fax a letter to if you live in the U.S. (Or, if you live outside the U.S., fax a letter to .)

An accredited attorney or claims agent can charge you fees for their services only after all of these are true:

  • We made a decision on your initial claim, and
  • We received a fee agreement signed by both you and the accredited attorney or claims agent, and
  • We received your VA Form 21-22a appointing the accredited attorney or claims agent as your representative

Before choosing someone to help you with your claim, make sure they’re accredited with VA. You’ll also want to discuss the fee amount, how it will be paid, and what happens if you discharge the accredited attorney or claims agent. And you’ll want to discuss what happens if they withdraw from representation before an award of benefits.

If you entered into a fee agreement with an accredited attorney or claims agent and you discharge them or they withdraw from the case before benefits are awarded, we urge you to review your agreement and discuss their contributions to the case at the time of their discharge or withdrawal.

In some cases, typically when only a small amount of work has been done on the case, the accredited attorney or claims agent will waive their eligibility for fees at that time. If they don’t, and you receive a favorable decision on your claim, the accredited attorney or claims agent may be determined eligible to receive the total amount stated in your fee agreement. If you disagree that they should receive that amount, you may request that the Office of General Counsel review the fee to make sure it is fair, but you must act quickly.

Learn how to challenge a fee (PDF)

Yes. If you believe an accredited representative demonstrated a lack of skill or engaged in misconduct, you can file a complaint with VA’s Office of General Counsel. 

Learn how to file a complaint (PDF)

The Office of General Counsel has the authority to investigate potential violations of VA’s professional standards of conduct for accredited representatives. But there are some things the Office of General Counsel can’t do.

Learn about our enforcement authority (PDF)

Note: If someone isn’t accredited by VA and they try to help you prepare, present, or prosecute your VA benefit claims, you can file a complaint about them.

Get help from a representative or VSO
  • Learn how to find and appoint an accredited Veterans Service Organization (VSO) representative, attorney, or claims agent.

VA benefits

  • Decision reviews and appeals

    If you disagree with a VA claim decision, you can request a decision review. Decision review replaces the old (“legacy”) VA appeals process.

  • Disability

    File a claim for disability compensation for conditions related to your military service, and manage your benefits over time.

  • Pension

    Apply for monthly payments for wartime Veterans and survivors with limited or no income who meet certain age and disability requirements.

Need more help?

MyVA411 main information line: 800-698-2411