Whether you are handling your first VA claim - or you are just trying to sharpen your skills and knowledge in this area of law - here are links to useful resources we have found.
Basic Legal Resources
To prepare documents or advocate for individuals on specific VA claims, you must be accredited by the VA. This is required even if you are a lawyer in good standing in your state bar.
38 US Code Chapter 11 Compensation for Service-Connected Disability or Death
38 CFR 3, Subpart A Pension, Compensation, and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation
38 CFR 4 Schedule for Rating Disabilities
M21-1MR VA Adjudications Procedure Manual posted on the Web Automated Reference Material System (WARMS) - guidance used by VA staff in adjudicating claims
How to File a Claim for VA Disability Compensation
This is Stateside's basic how-to manual for pro se claimants, based on veteran advocate Jim Strickland's work, but may be a good place to start - especially if you are new to this substantive area of law.
How to Appeal a VA Disability Compensation Claim
This classroom will help you through the appeal of the Board of Veterans' Appeals (BVA) decision that denied your claim for VA benefits. This classroom is generously supported by The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program.
VA "Fully Developed Claim" process
The VA claims that filing a Fully Developed Claim will speed up the claims process, both for your client and for the system as a whole. More details in the "fast letter" to VARO's here.
Veteran Advocacy Training: Interviews and Review of the VA Claims Process (videos)
If you like to learn by video, try out these training videos produced by the Veterans Hour series on blip.tv.
Advanced VA Disability Legal Resources
Practice Before the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
Links to the basic tools you'll need.
The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program
This organization provides free legal services in federal venues for veterans in need. They represent veterans unjustly denied benefits or compensation earned from military service, work on cases appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court.
National Veterans Legal Services Program
This organization spearheads two major programs: 1) Training advocates to handle VA appeals, and 2) “Lawyers Serving Warriors” – providing pro bono support for initial VA claims. They offer an array of high-quality reasonably-priced training materials for advocates.
Seasoned veteran advocate Jim Strickland has contributed hundreds of Q and A's with veteran claimants. Use our site search to find relevant Mailbag submissions.
Specific disabling conditions
We also post general information specific to certain disabling conditions, such as PTSD and traumatic brain injury. Use our search function to find these resources.