Effective June 23, 2008 all lawyers and representatives who intend to assist claimants for VA benefits in the preparation, presentation, or prosecution of new claims must first become accredited by the VA. Representation which was initiated before June 23, 2008 may continue without accreditation. The accreditation final rule, which was published in the Federal Register on May 22, 2008, and which explains how to obtain and maintain accreditation can be accessed from this website, as can a link to the accreditation application form, VA Form 21a.
In addition, NOVA recommends that attorneys visit the VA website for more information on accreditation.
Accreditation: Accreditation means the authority granted by VA to assist claimants in the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims for benefits. Unaccredited individuals may provide other services to veterans so long as they do not assist in the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims for benefits. To read the full text of CFR § 14.629 “Requirements for Accreditation”, please click HERE.
Certification: To maintain accreditation, you must annually certify that you are in good standing. This is called “Certification.” According to CFR § 14.629 (b)(iv): To maintain accreditation, agents and 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. To qualify under this subsection, a CLE course must be approved for a minimum of 3 hours of CLE credit by any State bar association. Agents and attorneys shall certify completion of the post-accreditation CLE requirement in the same manner as described in § 14.629(b)(1)(iii). VA regulations require that accredited agents and attorneys certify in writing to VA’s Office of the General Counsel that they have completed qualifying CLE. The certification must include the title of the CLE, the date and time of the CLE, and identification of the CLE provider.
Initial Accreditation Application Form: VA Form 21a.