Today we’re focusing on how dishonest “advisers” may try to get your pension benefits and disability compensation, including benefits under the PACT Act. Applying for VA benefits is free and you can also get legitimate free help. How can you protect your benefits and get help filing your claim?
- If you want help with applying for benefits, use VA-accredited agents, Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs), or accredited attorneys. Start by confirming that the person helping you is accredited by the VA. The VA’s Office of the General Counsel maintains a searchable list of approved individuals. Check this list before discussing your pension or other benefits with anyone outside of the VA.
- Read all the papers and the contract carefully. Understand all the terms, conditions, and implications of what someone helping you — even a VA-accredited adviser — is asking you to do. Remember, no one can guarantee you’ll get benefits from the VA. Even accredited people on the VA’s Office of the General Counsel list can’t guarantee that you’ll get VA pension or disability benefits after you apply.
- Don’t work with anyone who pressures you — especially if they pressure you or advise you to move your money around to qualify for a benefit. When VA discovers you don’t qualify, you have to pay back any benefits they already paid you. And you might lose other government benefits or tie up money that you need to live on.
- Safeguard your personal information. Never share your VA login credentials or password. Protect your information and data by using strong passwords and multi-factor (also called two-factor) authentication. Check out VA’s advice on setting up multifactor authentication on your VA accounts.