So back in medieval times, there was the fellow named Hobson – he owned a stable full of horses that he’d rent out.
Hobson had some good horses, and some average horses. A good mix the story goes.
But when folks would go to his stable to rent a horse, they would always want to pick the best horses to rent.
Problem was, over time, Hobson’s best horses became worn out – people wouldn’t right the “average” horses.
So as his “good horses” were worn out, all he had to rent were “average horses”. People would rent from him less and less, and he was getting a horrible reputation.
Hobson had to make a change to his business.
His solution was simple: he started rotating his horses in the stalls, so that the freshest – not necessarily the best – was always in the first stall.
Then Hobson gave his customers a “choice”. When a customer would go to his stable and ask to rent a horse, Hobson let the customer make this choice:
Either you rent the horse in the first stall, or you rent none at all.
This type of choice became known as a “Hobson’s Choice”. Said in the rhythm of 17th Century rhymes:
“Where to elect there is but one,
‘Tis Hobson’s choice—take that, or none.”
What does this have to do with Veterans law, you might ask?
For Veterans, their right to “Choose” a representative is often a “Hobson’s Choice”.
I know this to be true in my own claim – which I first filed before I really started practicing Veterans Law in 2007. I didn’t know where to go for help, and realized that I had 3 so-called “choices”:
I could choose to hire a VSO that (in most cases) merely baby-sat my claim in exchange for membership dues.
A lot of these VSOs don’t know the correct deadlines, and sell Veterans out to curry favor with their masters in the VA. Still others try to keep Veterans from pursuing all they are entitled to by telling them Fairy Tales.
Yes, there are good VSOs out there – I’m the first to admit. But they are few and far between.
I could choose to hire an attorney – but only after I was denied – and then I had to pay between 20% and 30% of my past-due benefits in exchange.
Many of these attorneys had less than 10 minutes experience (at the time) handling these types of claims, and a greater number would swoop in at the last minute to claim a contingency fee for a very little bit of work.
(The Veterans Advocacy Community has spent years policing the rats out of its community – what remains are largely attorneys that are committed to the mission)
I could work the claim myself, and spend years scouring the internet and VFW pubs, piecing together snippets of knowledge and experience from old-timers that had spent decades battling the VA in their disability claims.
Maybe I’d get my claim granted, but I’d miss out on family life…spending all my time working on my claim instead of spending my time learning how to reintegrate into civilian life after multiple combat deployments or even peace-time military service.
And I’d lose a lot of sleep – finding GOOD and RELIABLE information on the Internet is like finding snow in Phoenix. Yeah, it happens from time to time, but most of the time its just hot and dry.
This choice – the same one that many Veterans face…that you who are reading this article face – is a Hobson’s choice.
Why is this a Hobson’s Choice?
Because all of these choices offer a single option – turn your claim over to someone else that may or may not know the law or rules, that may or may not work the claim, that may or may not have your best interests at heart.
None of these choices allow YOU as a Veteran to understand YOUR OWN Veterans claim – make proving YOUR claim simple – and get YOUR claim handled properly by the VA.
None of those choices allows you to choose to Empower Yourself.
It was right about then that I decided Veterans needed an option that:
→ EMPOWERED Veterans – not their advocates.
→ EDUCATED Veterans about VA Claims – not that educated the VA about Veterans.
→ Showed Veterans that filing and getting a decision in a VA Claim need not be 8 years of torture.
The Veterans Law Blog Offers Veterans a REAL Choice.
For almost 8 years, the VLB has strived to give Veterans MORE Information, and MORE Power in MORE Ways in handling their OWN VA Claims:
* If you want to file your own VA Claim, then my How to File a VA Claim Training Modules will teach you a simple and straightforward method for filing, developing, organizing and proving your claim
* If you want to build your own appeal, the Veterans Law Blog and the books in our bookstore give you the tools and understanding you need to make this process simpler and easier to navigate
* If you want to hire an attorney – and there are some damn good ones out there – then I will teach you how to choose the attorney that is best for you.
* If you want to hire a VSO, then I will show you exactly what type of work – the investigation and development of evidence – that you should expect from a VSO.
I am a lawyer representing Veterans – true. But first and foremost, I am a Veteran.
In my law practice I get to choose to work on certain types of cases where I get great joy and pleasure in working – cases that are very difficult for Veterans and Survivors to win without an advocate with a strategy and a healthy dose of “grit”.
But the Veterans I represent as a lawyer are less than .01% of the Veterans that need legal help.
In my work on the Veterans Law Blog, I get to teach the other 99.99% percent of you how to:
→ Win Your case on Your own – if you are a Do-It-Yourself Type
→ Choose the Best Advocate for Your Particular Veterans Claim
→ Hold Your Advocate Accountable.
And I will stay loyal to that mission.
Empowering Veterans to Improve Their Own Veterans Claim …. WORKS!!
Every day, I get emails and social media posts from Veterans that show me that the Veterans Law Blog is accomplishing its mission. Take a look at this one that I stumbled on in a popular Veterans forum the other night – dated December 2014:
(I blurred out the poster’s name and info…if you want to read the whole post, go join Hadit.com)
Here on the Veterans Law Blog, I am DONE with the debate over whether a VSO or attorney is better – the Veteran should have the ability to CHOOSE the representative that he or she wants, and have the tools to know HOW to choose.
Here on the Veterans Law Blog, I am DONE defending our sale of eBooks and Videos – these materials teach a level of insight and knowledge into the VA Claims Process that NOBODY else has provided.
They cost money to make, and so until an individual or corporation steps forward to sponsor these materials so that they are free for all Veterans, I will sell them at the lowest prices I can.
I have seen enough feedback to be convinced that the information you receive in these materials will improve your ability to navigate the VA Claims Process on your own – or will help you to hold whatever advocate you choose accountable for their action or inaction in your claim.
The Veterans Law Blog Gives You a REAL Choice in your VA Claim.
It will Give you POWER in your VA Claim and Appeal.
The real question is this: are you ready to accept – and use – that Power?
→ Sign up to get the Veterans Law Blog email here.
→ Find Out How to Choose the Best Attorney for your VA Claim here.
→ Learn How to File a VA Claim – do it yourself or hold your advocate accountable.
→ Check out all the Books and Training Videos in the Veterans Law Blog Store.
Looking forward to getting your Blog! I have been working at the VA for almost 2 years. I am disgusted with how frequently inept and too often indifferent VA staff are. There are a lot of really good ones too, but far too many simply shouldn’t be there. I suspect I’ll learn a lot from you. Many thanks!