Every year, I spend several days at the Annual Conference of the National Organization for Veterans Advocates.
This great group of 500+ attorneys and agents that represent Veterans gets together twice a year and provides training for attorneys and agents that represent Veterans.
Over the coming days and weeks, I will be posting some of the great information that I learned.
This Veterans Service Organization is Doing Far Less to Help Veterans.
I returned home from a conference recently to a letter from the DAV – apparently, they are sending their Claims Winnebago around to North Texas to try to take money from more Veterans up this way.
In the letter was this statement: “A DAV NSO….will provide you the best counseling and claim filing assistance you can get from any source, anywhere.”
By the way – I went out to where the DAV Winnebago was and watched for 30 minutes – not a single Veteran showed up.
The letter added that the DAV NSO was “rigorously and professionally schooled in the full range of benefits for military veterans”. Many VSOs are NOT trained – and REALLY screw up the Veteran’s claim.
Here’s a test: call your DAV rep and ask any one of these questions to see if he really has been “rigorously schooled”:
* How does the “sheltered employment” rule apply to TDIU?
* What is the name of the report prepared at the Point of Injury when a soldier is suspected of having a Traumatic Brain Injury?
* What is the difference between the presumption of aggravation and the presumption of soundness?
I haven’t met a DAV rep yet that knows these answers. Nor have I met a DAV member who is satisfied with the DAV’s service.
I’m not saying these folks aren’t out there – and maybe the DAV is the greatest thing since sliced bread – but I’m finding that the organization is increasingly one of the least popular veterans service organizations.
Here are a few reasons why the DAV’s influence is slipping away as a Veterans Service Organization.
* The DAV pays 9 executives a combined $2.4million dollars. That’s your dues money paying for their lavish lifestyle. One of these guys – a RETIRED National Adjutant, is still paid $360,000 a year out of your DAV membership dues (this is, I believe, more than the President of the United States makes).
* The DAV’s operating expenses have soared (not sure why, since they haven’t increased services to my knowledge)
* The DAV simply does not appeal to a new generation of Veterans and has experienced a 14% decline in membership in just the past few years.
Here is how VA Watchdog Jim Strickland (and friend of the Attig Law Firm) describes the “service” you get at the DAV:
Your comment, “When I call the DAV for the status of my claim, and leave messages for my NSO, my calls are never returned” is the number one complaint I hear for every National Service Organization. I hear more about DAV because DAV is the largest of those groups.
I was also sold one of those Life Memberships years ago. It was hinted to me that if I became a life member that my claim would be given more attention. That was the last time I ever heard from that service officer, he stopped returning my phone calls.
You should also be aware that DAV doesn’t have the faintest idea of the status of your claim. Day to day the VA itself doesn’t know where your claim is, how could the DAV? Once a Service Officer assists you with completing any required paperwork and submits such to the VA, they won’t normally see it again until it’s completed.
The reality is that you have two ways to approach the process of gaining your earned disability compensation benefits. First, you may sit down with a Post or Veterans Service Officer, complete the paperwork required and the Service Officer will then have your papers sent to a National Service Officer at the VA Regional Offices.
The NSO will then hand your application paperwork over to the VA and they will put it in the very long line to be adjudicated.
In other words, it sounds like a lot of Vets pay the DAV to get absolutely nothing.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the DAV.
Should Congress pull their charter? Do they do any good for Veterans?
Share your comments below.