Veteran Benefits Advocacy

Veteran Benefits Advocacy Training (OJT & Online)

Fridays 10:00-2:00 pm

Coffee Strong

15107 Union Ave SW Lakewood WA

The goal is to train volunteers how to pass the test for the title of Independent Agent in order to receive accreditation from the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs. This title would enable the person certified to file claims for the veterans with the VA and file appeals, present oral arguments in person at the VA Regional Office with the veteran. In the event the case is denied at the local level, learn to prepare for continuing appeals at the DC level, at the VA board of Veterans Appeals and if necessary, file an appeal with the U. S. Court of Appeals for Veterans (three steps down from the Supreme Court).

They will learn how to study the VA laws and regulations and where to look for answers to their questions; how to gather evidence  such as buddy statements for the veteran or the widow of a veteran or obtain private medical exams and assist the physician in the proper wording of the document to the VA..

They will learn important definitions and what these definitions mean for the veteran and how they can be used to benefit his/her claim.  The Title 38 United States Code (38 USC) are the laws as passed by congress.  The 38 Code of Federal Regulations (38 CFR) are the regulation interpretation of the Title 38 USC laws, as approved by Congress.  These rules and regulations are vital to any advocate who want to help a veteran. 

During the ten OJT & Online weeks, it is hoped you will accomplish the following:

1)    Learn how to interview a veteran

2)    Learn how to review discharge papers

3)    Learn how to review service medical and private medical records

4)    Learn how to investigate and acquire supportive evidence to substantiate a veteran’s claim for service connected disability

5)     Learn how to prepare an appeal (Notice of Disagreement); what to say and how to say it and what to ask for in the initial appeal such as:

a)    Request for Decision Review by a (DRO, Decision Review officer)

b)    Request for a Statement of Case from the VA which explains how they arrived at their decision and what the advocate should look for in this document

c)    Request a Personal Hearing at the local level.  This is the only time the VA should have access to the veteran eye to eye to ask questions. This is where the advocate comes in as a vital part of this process.  Always ask for a transcript of the hearing before the process gets started.

d)    How to prepare the VA Form 9 which will accompany the VA claims file to Washington DC to the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA).  In the event the local hearing is not successful.  New evidence may be submitted at this level, but the BVA will more than likely remand the case back to the local VA Regional Office to reconsider their decision in light of the new evidence. 

e) Learn how to file application for accreditation before the U. S. court of Veterans Appeals for Veterans.  This may not be possible for an independent agent unless they have access to a private attorney who can be admitted to the Court. 


Learning Resources

The American Veterans and Servicemembers Survival Guide (605 pages pdf document)

self help guide

The Self-help Guide on VA Claims



Veterans Benefit ManualNEW 2012 EDITION!

Veterans Benefit Manual $146.00

This indispensable guide has helped thousands of lawyer and non-lawyer advocates obtain VA benefits for veterans and their families. The 2012 Edition of the Veterans Benefits Manual is an extensive revision of the 2011 edition to (a) take into account all of the significant changes that have occurred in veterans benefits law since July 1, 2011, when the 2011 edition was finalized, (b) add new topics not previously covered, and (c) add advocacy tips. Significant new information that appears in the 2012 edition of this Manual includes the following:

Federal Veterans Laws, Rules and Regulations 2012 Edition $63.00 Federal Veterans Laws, Rules and Regulations puts the laws and regulations related to veterans law right at your fingertips. This fully updated and indexed resource offers quick reference to important federal statutes and regulations contained in Title 38 of the United States Code Service (USCS) and the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), as well as all of the rules of the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

Basic Training Course on Veterans Benefits. The online course includes a 128-page manual, a complete set of intake forms, and a proficiency examination that advocates may take and submit to NVLSP for grading. $150.00 This basic course covers almost every VA benefit, with special emphasis on entitlement to compensation and pension benefits, as these are often especially difficult to obtain.  The course includes an online manual, sample forms, online test and certificate of completion.



TVA The Veterans Advocate The Veterans Advocate (TVA), a veterans law advocacy journal that covers current developments in veterans law. Since 2008, it now delivers electronically via downloadable pdf. Published quarterly journal, TVA provides in-depth analyses of issues affecting veterans’ benefits entitlement, including practical advice and advocacy tips for those representing veterans and their dependents. $80/year



Sample Letters to Support a Claim

Training Videos

Intake Forms & Handouts

VA Forms

Disability Benefits Questionnaires


DOD Documents


Traumatic Brain Injury

Stress and Pain Relief Using EFT

Agent Orange

Military Discharges


Lena Dennis-08a.jpgMark Fleming

  Lena Swanson --- Dennis Mills -------Mark Fleming

  Veteran Benefits Advocacy Training Facilitators

Lena Swanson  360 377-7011  Dennis Mills 360 867-1487 Mark Fleming 360 357-1060