There are many other organizations you may use in addition to national service organizations. These include:
State Veterans Affairs Offices
County or Local Veterans Affairs Offices
Here is a link to a V A Internet web site where you can get detailed information about State Veterans Affairs Offices:http://www.va.gov/statedva.htm
Most State Veterans Affairs Offices are recognized to represent claimants before VA.
Private attorneys or agents
An agent recognized by VA or a licensed lawyer who is either in private practice or a legal aid attorney can represent you.
On December 22, 2006, the President signed Public Law 109-461. The provisions shifting the entry point for paid representation are effective on June 20, 2007.
Under current law, a claimant must provide VA with a signed VA Form 21-22a to appoint an agent or individual VSO representative for purposes of representation. Attorneys may continue to provide representation based on a letterhead declaration of representation or may use a VA Form 21-22a. No signature is required for claimants to appoint attorneys; however, VA still requires a VA Form 21-22a, signed by the claimant, to authorize the disclosure of claimant information to an agent or attorney.
You may limit the scope of your agent’s or attorney’s representation regarding a particular claim by describing the limitation on VA Form 21-22a. As an example, you may limit your agent’s or attorney’s representation to only your claim for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Prior to this new law, an accredited agent or attorney was only permitted to charge fees for services after the Board of Veterans’ Appeals issued a first final decision in the case. Under the new law, an accredited agent or attorney may charge fees for services after a notice of disagreement (NOD) has been filed with respect to the case. Such notice of disagreement must have been filed on or after June 20, 2007.
If you want to use a representative to help you with your application, contact the closest VA office at 1-800-827-1000. Based on the type of representative you want to designate, that office will send you the appropriate VA Form if it is other than the VONAPP form, 21-22.