VA Accreditation Requirements

Veteran Benefits Claims Representation

Attorneys accredited with the VA can help veterans avoid delay and even a denial of the legitimate claims for veteran disability benefits. VA accreditation permits an attorney to represent a veteran claimant before the VA.

Without accreditation, an attorney may not independently assist claimants in the preparation, presentation and prosecution of claims for VA benefits, or supervise the work of others.

The initial accreditation process consists of two steps:

  • First an attorney must file a VA Form 21a with the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Office of the General Counsel and obtain initial accreditation from the VA. The accreditation process can take from four to six weeks. The VA will send a letter via U.S. mail notifying the applicant of their accreditation determination.
  • Secondly, the attorney must, within the twelve month-period following accreditation, complete qualifying CLE. To maintain accreditation, attorneys are required to complete an additional 3 hours of qualifying CLE on veterans benefits law and procedure not later than 3 years from the date of initial accreditation and every 2 years thereafter.

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Discharge Upgrade Representation

Attorneys can assist a veteran with a Discharge Upgrade without VA accreditation, it is not necessary. This is a highly requested area of practice requested by veterans participating in the Military Matters program. We encourage any attorney who is interested in learning how to assist a veteran through this process to reach out to Military Matters at [email protected].