Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs)
Since the dawn of man, humans have gone to war. And for just as long, Veterans have had to fight for what was due them.
There are numerous Veterans Service Organizations to foster camaraderie and to advocate on behalf of all Veterans. They represent the interests of Veterans, their families, their survivors and their orphans before Congress, the White House and the Judicial Branch, as well as state and local governments.
Davidson County boasts several branches of Veterans Service Organizations, such as Disabled American Veterans (DAV); Wounded Warrior Project; AMVETS; The American Legion; Veterans of Foreign Wars; as well as several younger organizations such as The Mission Continues or Team Red White and Blue.
Power of Attorney (POAs) or Appointment of Veterans Service Organization as Claimant's Representative
NOT to be confused with Durable Power of Attorney or any similarly named appointment
Excerpt from VA Form 21-22
I, the claimant named [herein], hereby appoint the service organization named [herein] as my representative to prepare, present and prosecute my claim(s) for any and all benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) based on the service of the veteran named [herein]. I authorize VA to release any and all of my records, to include disclosure of my Federal tax information, to my appointed service organization. I understand that my appointed representative will not charge any fee or compensation for service rendered pursuant to this appointment. I understand that the service organization I have appointed as my representative may revoke this appointment at any time, subject to 38 CFR 20.608.
What does this mean?
The VA is very particular about sharing Veteran's personal and private information. They would prefer if none but the Veteran and themselves ever saw it. While this is the most secure option, it is not necessarily the most helpful. Appointing an accredited and recognized representative is the best option. Visit the Office of General Counsel website for information pertaining to individuals currently accredited by VA and organizations currently recognized by VA. Then fill out a VA Form 21-22 and send it to us. We will submit it to the VA on your behalf.
I appointed an organization, can I change my mind?
Ultimately, it is your claim. You can change if you wish to, however, if your claim is currently in Appeals, it may be too late. The bottom line is: choose early and choose wisely. You want to select an organization whom you can trust to represent your claim.
I chose wisely, now what?
Now, gather all your documents and schedule an appointment with an individual accredited with the organization of your choice. Discuss any and all previous claims, as well as current medical issues. Highlight any issues that have worsened since your last VA rating. Also, keep in mind that some issues may develop secondary to already service-connected issues. Make sure you explain in detail your current medical issues as the representative will know what issues could be related.
What is my next step?
Complete a copy of VA Form 10-0966 and submit it to the representative you've chosen. The Intent to File process allows you additional time to collect all of the information needed to support your claim while protecting the earliest possible effective date for any award of benefits or increased benefits resulting from your claim. The date VA receives your intent to file will be protected as your effective date as long as the correct application form is completed and submitted within 1 year.