Veterans Can Hire DVA-Certified Attorneys WITHOUT Upfront Money
A common fallacy Veterans have when contemplating acquiring an attorney to appeal a DVA decision is that there will be an upfront or “out of pocket” expense. Depending on the attorney, it’s possible for there to be NO such cost. Certain attorneys—including ourselves—are willing to work on a “contingency-fee basis.” This arrangement is similar to the way lawyers are paid in Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury cases.
This means you must be awarded retroactive compensation benefits—AFTER the attorney is hired—BEFORE the attorney receives a fee. Conversely, if you receive no retroactive award of benefits, you owe the attorney nothing.
The changes in the law that Congress approved in 2007 provided, among other things, that:
1. Attorneys who became certified with the DVA could appear at earlier stages of a Veteran’s appeal of a DVA decision.
2.The VA would withhold as an attorney fee 20% of any retroactive benefits awarded after the Veteran hired an attorney who was authorized to appear before the Regional Office or Board of Veterans Appeals.
Of course, you are free to negotiate a different payment percentage. However, if you and your attorney agree on a percentage greater than 20%, your attorney is entitled to collect the fee from you at the time the retroactive benefits check is received. If the likely overall recovery is projected as modest, the attorney may request more than a 20% fee in order to justify the amount of time (and overhead expense) that will be incurred during the time the case is being worked on. The norm in such instances is one-third (33 1/3%) of the award.
This is a good arrangement for Veterans because you are not forced to dip into your own possibly limited funds in order to proceed with your appeal. The right attorney will share with you both the risks inherent in any litigation, as well as the benefits.
How To Proceed
If you would like a free consultation with our office, please contact Maria at Extension 5 and she will get you started in our intake process. We usually need the entire C File (claim file) from the VA before we can commit on a case. Our intake process begins with some questionnaires which we will need completed. We will also send you a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) Letter for you to review, sign, and send by Certified Mail/Return Receipt Requested to your Regional VA Office.
We at the Law Offices of Maurice L. Abarr are authorized and uniquely qualified to address your Veterans Disability issues. We look forward to serving you.