National Commander: Exploitation of veterans should be illegal again

By Daniel J. Seehafer

Dear American Legion Family Members and Friends,

Few insults are more egregious than to take advantage of disabled veterans or their families, under false pretenses. We know it’s immoral to exploit any veteran filing for VA benefits. The American Legion wants the return of criminal penalties enforced against these non-accredited violators.

mugshot of 2023-24 national commander of American legion
Daniel J. Seehafer

The American Legion or other accredited veterans service organizations (VSO) are the best first step for veterans seeking assistance because we successfully provide expert help free of charge for hundreds of thousands of veterans a year. We also understand and support a veteran’s freedom to choose representation – whether it’s a VSO, another claims agency, law firm or private company.

But we support that right on a key condition: that anyone who represents a veteran in the filing of a claim is accredited with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Accreditation means the representative has been vetted, is trained,  and is accountable to VA’s rules, which include the regulation of fees that can be charged.

These rules exist for good reasons. They prevent exploitation. As it now stands, nothing stops or deters profiteers from overcharging and taking advantage of veterans. That has to end.

The American Legion continues to work with VA to share information and educate veterans about free services available through VSOs like accredited American Legion service officers who helped veterans receive $16.8 billion in disability compensation last year alone.

All accredited representatives who assist veterans must be held to the same level of accountability as our service officers, who have been successfully helping with claims since the birth of VA.

For God and Country,

Daniel J. Seehafer
National Commander