From the Field Staff
By Ed Eckroth
Becoming a Volunteer National Service Officer VNSO
BVA recognizes that many blinded Veterans have a passion for helping other blind veterans. Do you have free time on your hands? Are you interested in learning how to assist claimants in the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims for VA benefits? As an accredited Service Officer you would learn how to provide complete claims service, which is a representation of each claimant requesting assistance from the initiation of a claim until the completion of any potential administrative appeal. If this is something that interests you please contact our Training Coordinator/VNSO Liaison Hallie Smith (Hallie.Smith2@va.gov) (844) 250 5180 toll free.
- The VNSO must be a BVA member or Auxiliary member of good character and reputation and he/she must demonstrate an ability to represent claimants before the VA, working for not less than 1,000 hours annually, which is a minimal of 20 hours a week.
- The VNSO must successfully complete a course of training and an examination which have been approved by a Regional Counsel with jurisdiction for the State; and will receive either regular supervision and monitoring or annual training to assure continued qualification as a representative in the claim process. BVA accepts the NVLSP’s Basic Training Course and certification to meet the initial requirement of training and examination. http://www.nvlsp.org/store/the-basic-training-course-for-veterans-benefits
- The VNSO will need to establish an office at the local VAMC or VBA Regional Office. BVA prohibits any VNSO from conducting claims work from their home.
- The VNSO will send a copy of all claims submitted to the FSP Resource Center for review, to meet supervision and training regulations set by VA regulations.
- The VNSO will be subject to review by the supervising National Field Service Training Coordinator and National Director, FSP to ensure the VNSO meets VA requirements of accreditation. At any time it is determined the VNSO is not maintaining 1,000 hours or is not demonstrating an adequate ability to represent claimants before the VA his/her accreditation will be revoked.
- The VNSO will be required to report their hours to their NFSO and national on a monthly basis.
Participants of the Veteran Service Officer training at the 72nd National Convention.