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Dilemma of Choosing your VA Representative PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 03 October 2013 09:23

A veteran can choose his representative:  veterans’ organizations or state representatives for free.  Sometimes that’s good; sometimes, sadly you get what you pay for.  There have been problems.  Or, a veteran could chance representing himself.  On the other hand, a veteran can choose to hire an attorney or other paid representative for 20 percent of the back check for issues on appeal.  An attorney can no longer receive a donation for issues not on appeal.  What this means to a veteran is that an attorney can only get paid for representing a portion of the veteran’s entire claim rather than addressing the veteran’s claim in its entirety. 
Nevertheless, an attorney can voluntarily work for free in order to possibly work for pay and assist the veteran with the entire claim anyway.  If an attorney is not willing to work for free in order to work for pay, the attorney can’t be blamed…it’s now the law.  David Huffman’s policy is to assist the veteran with the entire claim anyway, and work for free in order to possibly work for pay for claims not on appeal and pay attention to the veteran’s entire compensation needs.  Other attorneys may provide educational information or advice to veterans for issues not on appeal, then say come back later when you need me for any of your new claims after a decision and the new claims need to be appealed.   You can’t blame them. 

There are other attorneys that have the same policy as David Huffman:  assist veterans from start to finish despite obvious financial disincentives and ethical dilemmas.  The law may put the veteran in the dilemma of having an attorney for some claims, representing himself for other claims, or more confusingly, having multiple representatives.  New claims may need medical opinions or other evidentiary development prior to a decision or an appeal.  Sometimes, the new claims may take up to 2-3 years for an initial decision and need to be developed.  Every claim with a plausible basis needs to be filed as early as possible even if the claim is not yet developed in order to receive compensation back to the onset date of the claim.  Claims may be missed or secondary to a service connected disability, service connected claims that have worsened, or claims that need New and Material evidence, or they may be ongoing claims that need to be filed with the same underlying etiology like diabetes or new claims.  Claims may take several years or be on several paths with several claims on each of those paths.  It’s easier for an attorney to sit back and address claims that are on appeal and collect larger payments for each claim.  They are trying to make a living. 

The most important concern for a veteran is to be represented properly regardless of who represents the veteran.  David Huffman of David Huffman Law Services is concerned about the veteran’s disability claims in its entirety in order for the veteran to be properly served by a paid representative such as an attorney or for free.  The word free needs to stand on its own merits rather than by control of the legislative playing field by veterans’ organizations that have a stake into asking for donations.  Veterans’ claims need to be resolved as soon as possible for the sake of the veteran. Paid representatives such as attorneys and representatives paid by veterans’ organizations and free representatives paid by veterans’ organizations or state paid representatives need to have a stake in the outcome as well.  The best way to accomplish this is by allowing free or paid representation from start to finish.  Competition will entice all representatives to do a better job in behalf of the veteran and provide that stake in the outcome of the veteran’s claim. The veteran can choose what is in the veteran’s best interest.

David Huffman has been involved in forming a 501(c) 19 nonprofit veteran organization in order to accomplish this goal in behalf of veterans called Vets For Full Representation, Inc.  If you’re interested in learning more, joining, or making a contribution, visit www.vets4fullrepresentation.com or call: (304) 834-3904 or (855) 373-1189.