Veterans should be aware of fraud schemes

Published 1:45 pm Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Davie Veterans Service Officer Megan Tomlin is passing along a warning from The VA Office of Inspector General (OIG)  to help prevent Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ) fraud schemes targeting veterans.

Public DBQs are medical forms that veterans submit to a healthcare provider (VA or in the community). The information from the healthcare provider helps VA evaluate disability benefit claims from veterans.

DBQ fraud schemes include attempts to obtain payment from veterans for assistance with getting DBQs completed by physicians and filing the related claim, even though free services are offered through VA and its accredited individuals.

All veterans should be aware that no-cost assistance is available for filing an initial application for benefits. Fees may be charged for appeals. It is not appropriate for any unaccredited “claims consultants” or representatives to charge veterans a percentage of future payments or fees to assist with filing initial benefit claims. Veterans should decline assistance from anyone proposing such an arrangement.

These unaccredited individuals may improperly promise to send veterans to private healthcare providers that will increase the chance for successful decisions or higher benefits, or inappropriately advise veterans to avoid exams from a VA provider. Veterans should never agree to have their VA benefit payments directly deposited into the bank account of a claims consultant.

Know The Signs

Individuals or businesses charge veterans a fee or a percentage of monthly benefits for assistance in getting public DBQs completed by healthcare providers or for submitting the resulting claim for VA benefits.

Unaccredited individuals guarantee a large increase in the veteran’s military service-connected disability rating that would lead to larger monthly monetary benefits. Only VA can determine disability ratings.

Healthcare providers charge a fee with promises they can find a diagnosis or exaggerate an existing medical condition to secure a successful claims decision or a higher rating than the evidence warrants.

Take Action

Search VA’s database to ensure you are using an accredited representative.  The database can be accessed online at www.va.gov/oig/fraud.

Work with the identified accredited representative when submitting public DBQs to physicians or claims to VA.

Verify with accredited representatives in advance any potential charges (such as those related to filing an appeal). Accredited representative fees that seem excessive may be challenged by filing a motion to review with VA (Accreditation, Discipline, & Fees Program – Office of General Counsel (va.gov)).

Ensure only accurate information regarding your disability claim is provided to VA. Knowingly providing, or having false information provided to VA on your behalf, may be a violation of federal law.

For more questions, contact Tomlin at mtomlin@daviecountync.gov.