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April 09, 2006

Possible Misrepresentation of Services to troops and veterans.

Sent: Friday, April 07, 2006 10:46 AM Subject: NCVA Pass Along

Please pass on to all your troops and veterans…..

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

Caveats: NONE

CSM's, the SMA asked that I forward this information on to each of you for dissemination to your Soldiers. We have been advised by the VA of an organization calling itself Veterans Affairs Services (VAS). This organization is gathering personal information on veterans under a vaservices website. This organization is not affiliated with the VA in any way and in reality is a private company based in California. It describes itself as a nonprofit veteran's service organization but they are actually affiliated with the Military Financial Planning association. They may be gaining access to military personnel through their close resemblance to the VA name and seal. VA's legal counsel has requested we inform our installations, particularly mobilization sites of this group and their lack of affiliation or endorsement by VA to provide any services. In addition, if you have any examples of VAS acts such as VAS employees assisting veterans in the preparation and presentation of claims for benefits, please pass these on to [Contact me, I"ll provide the data] Michael Daugherty, [snipped]. Mr. Daugherty is a Staff Attorney with the Department of Veterans Affairs here in Washington D.C. I am attaching an info paper describing the company and their websites. Please pass this along to your Commands.

SGM John Heinrichs
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

Caveats: NONE


MSG Ofisa and SGM Heinrichs are legit people. (CAPT H - you have a relative down here...)

From the Mission Statement on their website:

Veterans Affairs Services is a non-profit Veterans Service Organization dedicated to serving the United States Armed Forces.

They claim to be a non-profit, but aren't listed by the IRS. That doesn't' mean they aren't a non-profit [heh, the Castle Store is a non-profit, if the definition is ya don't make any money...], it just means that they don't have that status with the IRS.

They claim to be a Veteran's Service Organization. That is a very specific claim and the VA keeps a list of those organizations that are allowed to act in that capacity (The Armorer used the Military Order of the Purple Heart and VFW to assist in his dealings with the disability rating system, for example). VAS is *not* listed - hence the VA's interest in direct knowledge of this organization offering those services.

They may be legitimate, as far as they go. They are arguably deceptive, and I would avoid them for that reason alone. They may be more than that - on the dark side of selling unneeded services and collecting data they shouldn't have.

I'd avoid these guys. Your mileage may vary. If you have knowledge you'd like to send the VA, drop me a line (you don't have to tell me what it is) and I'll send you the contact info. They don't need any crank calls and emails, they're generally slow enough (sorry guys, it took you 18 months to process my paperwork...)

I'll post the referenced info paper once I score a copy.