The difference between VA Form 22 and VA Form 21-22a is as easy as determining whether the Veteran wants an attorney or a Service Officer to represent them during an appeal.
VA Form 22 is used when a Veteran wants a Service Organization, like the VFW, to represent them. VA Form 22a tells the VA an attorney is representing the Claimant.
Why is VA Form 22 Important?
One of the reasons this VA form is so critical is the fact it helps clarify when and where notices are sent. In other words, when the VA contacts a military veteran by mail, where should the mailing go?
Second, this form helps clarify who can speak or file documents on behalf of the Veteran. If a Veteran’s representative fails to submit one of the above mentioned forms, a filing might go unrecognized.
As you know, VA benefits are a serious matter. In my personal and humble opinion, I like the idea of retaining an attorney versus a service organization because VA benefits are supported and protected by federal laws. As an attorney, I work with laws, rules and the legal process on a daily basis. Even though service organizations do great work, consitutional provisions and due process isn’t necessarily their strong suit.
When Can Veterans Use VA Form 22?
A Veteran can retain a lawyer or service group at any point before or during their appeal process. In some cases, veterans hire attorneys after their appeal has expired. But, this is a topic for a different day.
Regardless, here are links to these forms, which I encourage every Veteran or family member to review:
- Veterans wishing to hire a service organization can use VA Form 22
- Veterans wishing to hire an attorney can use VA Form 22-a.
Replacing VA Form 22 and VA Form 22a
Yes, these forms can be used to change and revoke a representative. Even more important, these VA forms can be changed, edited and updated on a regular basis.
For the Veterans claiming they are not getting mail from the VA, likely updating one of these forms will improve the flow of information.
If you have questions or need help, please contact me directly.