The VA Disability Advocate is a consortium of non-attorney agents accredited by VA to represent claimants. Albert L. Thombs Jr., The VA Disability Advocate, is a member of the Office of General Council #45147, Disability Agent Certified by the Department of Veterans. The VA requires accredited claims agents to complete continuing legal education courses to maintain our accreditation. 38 USC §§ 5901-5902, 5904; 38 CFR § 14.629.
Whether a claimant decides to use our services as a representative, it is crucial to ensure that the chosen individual knows what they are doing. Representatives come in all sizes and shapes, just like any other service provider. No responsible representative will mind if a claimant asks questions about the representative's experience, what the representative will do to assist, and how much it will cost. A claimant should also do internet searches and talk to other veterans about representative recommendations. While most veteran service officers and veteran service organizations handle cases from only their local area, agents can handle cases from all over the country no matter where their office is located. This means that an agent in Texas can take a case for a veteran in any other state. So if a veteran in Florida had a good experience with an agent from Las Vegas, that agent might be a good person to recommend to other veterans in your area.
Congress intended the VA benefits system to be "non-adversarial" and friendly to veterans seeking assistance for hardships resulting from their service to the country. VA's duty to assist, the benefit of the doubt rule, and the ability to re-file denied claims are examples of a "veteran-friendly" process. For many veterans and dependents, the VA process has worked and continues to work well. For others, the process has proven to be complex and confusing.
Even with VA "help," applying for and establishing entitlement to VA benefits can be challenging. VA is overwhelmed with applications and rarely if ever, provides updates or responds to calls or letters. Documents get lost, and errors are frequently made in haste to make decisions. The VA process also has "gotchas" that can trip up even the most experienced advocate. Even if VA grants an award, a claimant still needs to check for errors in the rating or effective date assigned. More often than not, a successful claim will require that a claimant have at least some knowledge of the specific benefit sought, an understanding of applicable laws, regulations, and VA policies, and familiarity with the evidence that is necessary to support a claim if only to detect the most apparent VA errors.
Many veterans have been successful at obtaining the desired benefits without any assistance. However, those who have been successful often have some background in law, medicine, or administration and can conduct some level of legal research. Most importantly, they have the time to invest in learning about the VA system and follow their claim's status.
The VA Disability Advocate Staff:
Albert Thombs, The Advocate, VSOREN – Phone and Text: 702-209-5722
Andrea Jelks, US Navy – New Claims and Appeals, VSO Phone and Text: 702-879-4603 Email: Andrea.Jelks@VADisabiliyAdvocate.com
Lakisha Adems, US Army – New Claims Department, Phone and Text: 725-248-2075 Email: Lakisha.Adems@VADisabilityAdvocate.com
Rolland Lawson, US Airforce - New Clamins Department, Phone and Text: 480-222-1914
Vangie Thombs, US Navy – Evidence and Records Department, Phone and Text: 702-209-5722
What We Do For You
We initiate a development process to investigate the status of your various cases with the VA to determine what has and has not been done to get grounded in your case.
Once grounded in your case, I will help you identify the weaknesses in your case and make recommendations on how to overcome them.
We analyze and develop a strategy to win your benefits in the shortest amount of time.
We challenge the VA's adversarial conclusions that obstruct your benefits.
We gather all your Military and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Records, including records from your private doctors. (This is a shared responsibility between us, the VA, and you)
We find and correct errors in an earlier decision to get you the earliest possible effective date of your compensation award.
The VA's Responsibility To You
Retrieving relevant records from another Federal agency or a Federal facility, such as a VA medical center or military treatment facility, that you adequately identify and authorize VA to obtain.
Providing a medical examination for you, or get a medical opinion, if they determine it is necessary to decide your claim.
Make every reasonable effort to obtain relevant records not held by a Federal facility that you adequately identify and authorize VA to obtain. These may include records from State or local governments and privately held evidence and information you tell us about, such as a private doctor or hospital records, or records from current or former employers. (Do not depend on anyone to gather this information for you, you must be vigilant in collecting this information on your own)
The VA Disability Advocates Main Office is Located in Las Vegas, NV. We Represent Veterans throughout the United States. 702-209-5722