Update on Implementation of Proposed Regulations

In response to an inquiry from Karen B. McIntyre of Veterans Information Services, Inc. regarding the proposed VA rulemaking AO73, Net Worth, Asset Transfers, and Income Exclusions, the following email was issued to extend – yet again – the date for possible publication of the final rule to April 2017. Victoria Collier has received confirmation that the proposed rule has not yet made it to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which will need to have its own review of the proposed regulations before they can become final.

Bigstock-Update-Concept-With-Hand-Press-120248195In a message dated 10/6/2016, martha.schimpf@va.gov writes:

RE:  VA rulemaking AO73, Net Worth, Asset Transfers, and Income Exclusions

Ms. McIntyre,

The rulemaking is not yet final.

Due to the complexity of the rule and the large number of comments received, we do not anticipate publication of the final rule before April 2017.

The draft final rule contains several changes as a result of some of the comments we received.  However, because it is still a draft and VA has not finally approved the changes, I can't share with you what those changes are.

My thanks to Marc MacKenzie for making me aware of this email.

Miscellaneous News From the VA’s Office of General Counsel

I attended a VA Accreditation CLE on October 13th at the State Bar of Georgia that included a speech by Christa Shriber, Deputy Chief Counsel of the VA’s Office of General Counsel (OGC). She provided some valuable information that benefits VA-accredited attorneys.

Ms. Shriber confirmed that when accredited attorneys charge fees for assistance with an appeal of a VA decision, there are two ways that fee agreements are to be submitted to the VA for consideration. For cases in which the VA is to directly pay the accredited attorney from the benefits owed to the claimant, the accredited attorney should file the fee agreement at a VA Regional Office specifically to the attention of the Agent and Attorney Fee Coordinator. Addresses for regional offices can be found on the VA website at http://www.va.gov/directory/guide/division.asp. You will also need to complete and submit form SF 3881, "ACH Vendor/Miscellaneous Payment Enrollment Form," to the fee coordinator for processing payment. In contrast, those cases in which the claimant pays the accredited attorney directly once the appeal is successful require the accredited attorney to file the fee agreement with the Office of General Counsel at 810 Vermont Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, 20420.

There is a special phone number for VA accredited attorneys to contact the VA for updates regarding claim status: (855) 225-0709. You may require your VA POA number, which would have been provided in your initial accreditation letter or can be found using the accreditation search tool at the VA webpage: http://www.va.gov/ogc/apps/accreditation/index.asp.

Finally, for those accredited attorneys out there who are overdue to submit their VA CLE/Certification of Good Standing, whether for initial accreditation or recertification, I recommend that you submit this ASAP. Ms. Shriber mentioned that the OGC was behind in reviewing current CLE and recertification status for VA accreditation, but that they were about to start reviewing the status of all currently listed accredited attorneys. Any accredited attorney who has not submitted their CLE or Annual Certification of Good Standing would receive a suspension letter. Thus, she recommended that anyone who might be behind should submit these right away to avoid suspension. If you're an LWP member, you can log into the members section of the website: webpage http://www.lwpmembers.com/posts/how-to-become-va-accredited for further information regarding VA accreditation. Remember that after initial VA accreditation, attorneys must submit the Annual VA Certification of Good Standing every year affirming that you are an attorney in good standing, and every two years must complete a three-hour CLE pertaining to VA and submit a Biennial CLE Report.

If you would like to learn more about becoming a Lawyers With Purpose member click here to download our Membership Brochure – it will tell you everything you get and all the benefits of joining.

By Sabrina A. Scott, Paralegal, The Elder & Disability Law Firm of Victoria L. Collier, PC and Director of VA Services for Lawyers with Purpose.

Victoria L. Collier, Veteran of the United States Air Force, 1989-1995 and United States Army Reserves, 2001-2004. Victoria is a Certified Elder Law Attorney through the National Elder Law Foundation; Author of “47 Secret Veterans Benefits for Seniors”; Author of “Paying for Long Term Care: Financial Help for Wartime Veterans: The VA Aid & Attendance Benefit”; Founder of The Elder & Disability Law Firm of Victoria L. Collier, PC; Co-Founder of Lawyers with Purpose; and Co-Founder of Veterans Advocate Group of America.

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