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Bar News - May 4, 2007

Congress Considers Altering ‘Attorneys for Veterans’ Act


The Attorneys for Veterans Act was passed into law by the 109th Congress last year after compromise between the House and Senate Veteran Affairs committees. The law essentially allows a veteran the right to hire attorney representation in furthering a claim for benefits after the Veterans Administration (VA) Regional Office denies the claim and the veteran submits a Notice of Disagreement in appeal. It also allows a veteran to hire an attorney, if desired, a Veterans’ Service Organization (VSO) provided a veteran with pro bono legal representation and failed to obtain a favorable decision.


According to a recent blog by Larry Scott on VA Watchdog dot Org, the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) organization, which provides free representation for veterans in appeal cases, is opposed to the legislation “fearing that, among other things, attorneys would unduly charge for their services on such claims.” The DAV has asked its members to urge Congress to repeal the Attorneys for Veterans legislation through the recently submitted HR 13180, Veterans’ Benefits Protection Act, in the 110th Congress.


Scott quotes from a letter by Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID), who favors Attorneys for Veterans, “among other things, [Craig] said that he believes veterans to be mature, responsible, and capable enough to decide for themselves whether or not to hire legal representation.”


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