JANUARY 29, 2014

Contact: Sarah Feldman (print) or Anamarie Rebori (broadcast) – 202-228-6263 

McCaskill Takes Aim at VA-Approved Lawyers, Financial Advisors Taking Advantage of Veterans

Senator investigating reports of fraud and negligent representation of veterans by individuals accredited through VA program 

WASHINGTON –U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill is demanding answers about reports that lawyers and financial advisors accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide veterans with counseling and other services have abused their positions, provided negligent representation of veterans, and reaped millions of taxpayer dollars in the process.


McCaskill—the daughter of a World War II veteran—has written to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki following reports which found that many of these individuals have improperly obtained millions of taxpayer dollars from the VA by helping ineligible veterans obtain benefits, and that some veterans have suffered financial damage after relying on advice from these individuals.


“VA accreditation creates the impression that the VA has deemed a particular lawyer, financial advisor, or other type of advisor to be knowledgeable in VA benefits and qualified to provide veterans services,” wrote McCaskill, a former Missouri State Auditor and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial & Contracting Oversight. “Based on these reports, however, it appears that the VA’s accreditation process is providing unscrupulous or unqualified individuals with the opportunity to abuse taxpayer dollars and directly harm our nation’s veterans.”


The VA has only four full-time employees responsible for evaluating approximately 5,000 accreditation applications each year. Applicant information, including criminal background, is self-reported by applicants without VA verification. Additionally, the VA rarely revokes accreditation: last year, it revoked only two accreditations for its more than 20,000 advisors.


A copy of McCaskill’s letter is available online HERE.


Click HERE to read highlights of McCaskill’s fight for military veterans.