Veteran Benefits Guide Supports GUARD Act If Paired with Accreditation Reform
For Immediate Release
March 1, 2023
Accreditation Reform Would Block Bad Actors While Allowing VBG and Other Honorable For-Profit Guides to Continue Helping Veterans
VBG Already Meets Standards Required of VA-Accredited Agents
Las Vegas, Nevada – Veteran Benefits Guide (VBG), a leading provider of guidance to veterans in navigating the Veterans Administration’s (VA) disability compensation benefits process, announced today that it supports the recently reintroduced Governing Unaccredited Representatives Defrauding VA Benefits Act (GUARD Act), as long as it is paired with appropriate accreditation reform. Accreditation reform would block bad actors from taking advantage of Veterans while allowing VBG and other honorable for-profit guides to continue helping veterans to receive the benefits they earned.
“The GUARD Act would take important steps to protect Veterans from unscrupulous companies and law firms that try to take advantage of Veterans seeking to receive benefits they earned from their service,” said Joshua Smith, Founder and CEO of Veteran Benefits Guide. “But as written, the bill would inadvertently prohibit Veterans from receiving help from good actors in this space, including Veteran Benefits Guide. It is critical that this bill is paired with accreditation reform that would allow principled and responsible for-profit guides to continue legally serving Veterans.”
The current VA disability compensation benefits process is not working well for many Veterans. Only 5.2 million of 19 million eligible Veterans are receiving benefits and the VA faces a backlog of almost 200,000 claims and a claims inventory of more than 700,000. It takes an average of more than six years for Veterans to receive their full benefits and many Veterans continue to receive less than they earned.
VBG provides specially trained case managers, many of whom are former VA personnel and Veterans themselves, to guide Veterans through the entire claims process. With VBG’s help, Veterans receive thorough and timely medical exams from a trusted network of qualified medical service providers and submit fully-developed, accurate claims to the VA, which helps avoid the need for appeals and speeds up the final benefits decision.
VBG’s role in the process also helps cut back on VA paperwork and reduces the VA case backlog and necessary labor.
More than seventy percent of VBG clients first tried navigating the VA process on their own or with the help of an accredited Veterans Service Organization (VSO) representative, but were either denied the full benefit they earned or felt the process was too slow. In exchange for its service, VBG is paid a one-time nominal fee (only after the Veteran is paid), which represents a small percentage of the increase in benefits the Veteran receives.
Under the GUARD Act, any unaccredited claims representative, including VBG, could be charged with criminal penalties for assisting Veterans. If not amended, the bill would take away a legitimate and helpful service being provided to Veterans and further increase the VA claims backlog, which has grown again recently due to the COVID-19 pandemic and passage of the PACT Act last year.
By pairing the GUARD Act with accreditation reform, legislators could ensure trustworthy companies meeting standardized guidelines are allowed to continue serving Veterans, while driving bad actors out of the marketplace and protecting Veterans from fraud. VBG’s personnel, medical service provider network and procedures already meet standards required of VA-accredited agents and would meet any reasonable threshold for accreditation set by the VA.
About Veteran Benefits Guide
Veteran Benefits Guide was founded in 2015 by former United States Marine Joshua Smith. After his honorable discharge, Josh was employed by the Veteran Benefits Administration (VA) as a Rating Veteran Service Representative (Rater), where he witnessed firsthand that the VA’s methods were inefficient and flawed. Josh and his wife, Lauren, then created Veteran Benefits Guide (VBG) to ensure that Veterans receive the correct disability benefits in a timely manner.
Since its founding, VBG has guided more than 30,000 veterans through the VA’s disability benefits process, helping them to receive favorable decisions. By increasing efficiency and expediency around the benefits process, VBG is also reducing unnecessary paperwork and helping alleviate the VA’s case backlog. VBG has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Learn more at VetBenefitsGuide..
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