Become an Accredited Claims Agent with VA
Under Title 38 CFR Section 14.629, the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) requires periodic renewal of your accreditation authority for the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims for veterans through 3 hours of continuing legal education every 2 years.
For agents and attorneys already accredited with VA, we offer two approved 3 hour video courses to meet your initial first year CLE requirements or any additional three hours on veterans benefits law and procedures required every two years.
Call (800) 989-8137 or click here to order our accreditation study materials (2015 Edition) to prepare for the VA Accredited Claims Agent Exam. Our VA accreditation training course, for individuals including non-practicing attorneys, includes the following:
- A training manual on veterans benefits for taking the VA accreditation test.
- A study guide which includes directions on what to study for the accredited agents test and 345 sample questions with answers to help you pass the accreditation exam.
- The accredited agents course includes excerpts from VA regulations to help you understand veterans benefits.
- The package includes phone support to answer questions relating to taking the test and help with claims questions after becoming accredited by VA.
Once a veteran understands benefits available to him and he expresses an interest in filing an application for benefits, federal law requires that an va certified agent or va certified attorney or va certified service officer must help him with the process. No one may help a veteran more than one time obtain benefits from VA unless that person has been authorized and certified for veterans benefits through the VA General Counsel office. Accreditation by VA can be thought of as a license from VA that provides authority for the VA benefits application process.
The Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes three types of individuals who have received certification from VA to make application for veterans benefits.
- Accredited agents
- Accredited attorneys
- Accredited service officers from veterans service organizations
Anyone other than an attorney or a service officer with a VA recognized service organization must apply for accreditation as an "accredited agent."
The process is free. The applicant does an online search for "VA form 21a." The form is completed and sent in to the office of General Counsel in Washington DC. Application requires listing 3 references who are not members of the family and preferably at least one should be a business associate. VA will require each of these references to produce a letter on behalf of the applicant attesting to the applicant's character. All three of these letters must be in the file before VA will approve accreditation.
After approximately 30 days, VA will respond to the initial application for accreditation with a letter directing the applicant to call the closest regional counsel office and schedule the test. The test will be proctored in that office. The exam is a paper and pencil exam consisting of 25 questions, about half of which are true and false and half of which are multiple choice. The candidate has 90 minutes to complete the exam. Most people who have gone through our study course are done in about 15 minutes.
In the approval letter, VA will include instructions on what sections of US code and Code of Federal Regulations to study. This is approximately 2,000 pages of material and VA does not provide this material nor provide information on how to obtain it.
We have simplified the study process considerably by providing in plain, understandable English, information an applicant would need to know to answer questions on the VA accreditation test. We also supply 3 sample exams of 115 questions each -- 345 questions in all -- with and without answers, to help the applicant prepare for the accreditation test. Our success rate on passing the accreditation exam is about 95%. Those who have not passed the first time have a second chance within six months of application and all who have taken it a second time have passed it. On average, the required study time is about 20 hours of effort.
Within about three or four weeks after passing the test and having received all of the character letters from references, VA will send a letter to the applicant that that person is now an accredited claims agent with VA.
Care must be taken with this new authority. VA does expect accredited agents to help veterans with claims for benefits and when called upon to provide resources or referrals for appeals. An accredited claims agent is prohibited from using the accreditation as a means of promoting his or her business. General Counsel frowns on insurance agents becoming accredited solely to sell insurance products. VA will not provide accreditation if this is the purpose.
VA has the right at any time to take away the accreditation, if General Counsel feels that an agent is not living up to the standards required in the regulations including helping veterans with claims and appeals.
Within 12 months of receiving the accreditation letter, the accredited agent must complete 3 hours of continuing education relating to veterans law. Within 3 years of receiving the accreditation letter, an additional 3 hours of continuing education must be completed. After that, 3 hours of continuing education is required every 2 years. There are numerous online courses available to help accredited individuals meet this requirement.
Request information in the form below or call (800) 989-8137 for pricing and more detail.
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