We have all seen the television commercials, social media posts, or other advertisements from companies telling veterans to “act now” to claim their Camp Lejeune or PACT Act benefits. Veterans need to beware of predatory third-party companies claiming they can help; as their help comes at a high price.
VA recommend all veterans follow these helpful hints to avoid getting scammed out of PACT Act benefits:
- Apply directly to VA.
- Be cautious of media advertisements from companies who provide information about the recent changes in law for toxic-exposure benefit claims and suggest Veterans can only obtain VA benefits with their help.
- Do not sign a contract agreeing to pay an unauthorized company a fee to help you with your VA claim.
- Only VA-accredited agents and attorneys may charge veterans for assistance on their VA claim, and only when they provide assistance in connection with a proceeding after VA has made an initial decision on a veteran’s claim. No individual or organization may charge a claimant a fee for filing an initial VA claim.
- Be cautious of companies claiming to be contacting you on behalf of VA. Contact VA directly at 1-800-827-1000 if you are unsure about the authenticity of a message you’ve received.
- Never sign a blank form for someone else to complete later.
Veterans should contact the VA Office of Inspector General, at (OIG) Hotline (va.gov) , if they have been a victim of VA benefits scams. Also, if you suspect a company is using predatory practices, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau.