First off, VSO stands for a Veterans Service Officer. This is an individual who advocates on your behalf and can be your representative in the VA claim process. A VSO can act as a liaison between you and the VA.
Having a liaison can be handy when you receive confusing letters from the VA. The VSO will be able to educate and assist you in what to do for your next steps. If you have no idea what the protocol for filing claims is, start out with the help of a VSO. They can be an excellent educational tool for you.
What are the Pros to a VSO?
The biggest ‘pro’ of using a VSO is that the services of a VSO are entirely free for veterans! This is a huge drawing point, especially if you are a veteran who has been trying to fight the VA alone. Teaming up with a VSO can strengthen your case and give you the needed knowledge to win the fight. Many times VSOs are fellow veterans, so they will understand and relate to the struggles you are currently facing.
Your Veteran Service Officer can also help you with other VA benefits such as buying a house or using your educational benefits. But this is a double-edged ‘pro’…
What are the Cons to a VSO?
Since your VSO must be knowledgeable about other VA benefits and programs as well, he or she may not be as thoroughly versed in VA claims as you would like. It is also almost guaranteed that a VSO will be extremely busy and possibly preoccupied with other Veterans and other programs. Your file may not get the attention it deserves.
Another ‘con’ to using a VSO exclusively is that some VSOs do not have the medical background or training needed to make the nexus between medical conditions. They won’t likely be able to spot potential secondary claims for you. There are some things that medical professionals will always be better at, and this is one of them. The ability to write medical opinions and nexus letters is not something most VSOs are qualified to do.
Lastly, as a reminder, VSOs have multiple cases to juggle. For this reason, your situation might not always get the attention it needs to win. It is your responsibility to follow up with your VSO to make sure you are not missing any time-sensitive deadlines.
Where Can I Find a VSO?
If you want to find a VSO, you can start at your local VA office. They usually have this information handy for veterans seeking this service. Google searches can also be an option to find a VSO in your local area.
We recommend having a VSO and exhausting your free options first. If you have been fighting the VA for a while, try teaming up with a volunteer from the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) or other service organizations like the VFW. See if they can get you more than what you were able to get on your own.
If these free services are not able to help you, then consider using professional services. Medical consulting companies usually can provide more substantial evidence for your case. These companies hire licensed medical professionals who can write the appropriate documents for your claim.
Even though you will have to pay a fee for their services, doing so can pay off quickly. Medical consulting companies can help you win an increase to your VA benefits you’ll enjoy month after month and year after year.
Ultimately, this is your decision. Choose the option that will help you get the increase you feel you deserve.
Strategic Veteran is a Veteran-run company that provides free resources to help Veterans navigate the complicated VA claims system. We would be happy to discuss the pros and cons of using a VSO with you, one on one. In fact, we can discuss all your options and provide other resources for you.
All the services of Strategic Veteran are free. If we can help you lessen your pain points and frustrations with the VA system, reach out to us at 800-477-9027 today!