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Vice President’s Report, May/June 2024 -   -  

Be on the Lookout for Unaccredited Veterans Claims Sharks

In my January/February column, I addressed the worrisome rise of predatory law firms and agents targeting veterans. I am taking up this challenge once again. This issue has escalated since the enactment of the PACT Act, with claim sharks aggressively pursuing veterans to claim as much as 30-50 percent of their settlements.

It is alarming to see how these entities advertise, suggesting almost-guaranteed successful outcomes for claims and disability ratings, sometimes even requesting VA login credentials to monitor for future rating increases. What’s often omitted upfront is the substantial fee they intend to charge for their services. I want to reiterate the importance of seeking assistance from federally accredited individuals who are trained, tested, and subject to oversight and disciplinary actions to protect veterans.

Before engaging with any firm or individual, it’s crucially important to verify their credentials. It’s also good to remember that organizations like Vietnam Veterans of America provide these services free of charge.

Despite regulations against unaccredited service representatives prosecuting claims, the removal of penalties in 2006 has made enforcement challenging. Forty-one state attorneys general have advocated for the reinstatement of these penalties and supported H.R. 1139 and S.740, GUARD VA Benefits Act. The proposed PLUS for Veterans Act of 2023 would legalize fees for claims assistance, which we find unacceptable.


While I am not a medical professional, I came across valuable information in a CDC article about vaccines for older Americans, including veterans. The CDC advises getting vaccinated to prevent against respiratory illnesses, which is particularly important during colder months.

The CDC recommends two specific flu vaccines for older adults: Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent, containing four times the antigens of regular flu shots, and Fluarix Quadrivalent, which includes an adjuvant MF59 to enhance the immune response. I had a Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent shot.

The CDC urges those 60 and older, especially with certain health conditions, to receive one of the new FDA-approved RSV vaccines (Arexvy or Abrysvo). Despite the end of the Covid public health emergency, the updated Covid vaccine is recommended to address the most-dominant coronavirus variants. I have had this one, as well.

In 2022, the CDC updated its guidelines, recommending two new pneumococcal conjugate vaccines for adults 65 and older—PCV15 (Vaxneuvance) and PCV20 (Prevnar 20), even for those who’ve received an earlier version of the vaccine.

Vaccines are accessible at most pharmacies, medical facilities, and health departments. Visit vaccines.gov to find a vaccination site near you. Always consult your healthcare provider to determine the best course of action for your health needs.




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Geoffrey Clifford Mark F. Erickson Chuck Forsman