Meet Miz Kathleen. New Sleuth on the prowl. I asked her if she would be so kind as to “sniff out” the bona fides of a certain outfit in Florida that purports to be run by former VA Personnel with the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA)-those who perform Compensation and Pension Examinations on Veterans to aid in determining service connection for claims we file.
Several days ago, I put up this report and Kathleen commented on it with numerous links to the outfit in question. I emailed her and asked if she’d be interested in researching such a valuable asset to Veterans-if it were indeed true. And, true to her word, I present her diligent work.
Caveat Emptor …”let the buyer beware.”
As defined, “Caveat Emptor is a Latin term that means “let the buyer beware.” Similar to the phrase “sold as is,” this term means that the buyer assumes the risk that a product may fail to meet expectations or have defects.”
Caveat Emptor…that’s my sentiment about the consulting firm mentioned in VA NEXUS LETTERS–FINALLY A GO-TO SOURCE? . You may or may not feel the same way as I do about this firm and that’s certainly everyone’s prerogative to reach their own conclusions.
In a response to that post, I provided information found by following the digital trail left out on the WWW by those associated with the firm. You see, we all leave digital footprints while we interact with the Web. A digital footprint is defined as… “the information about a particular person that exists on the Internet as result of their online activity.”
In this case, the digital trail that I followed kept bringing me to more twists and turns then “the most crooked street in the world”, Lombard Street in San Francisco, CA.
To start with, the firm seems to be associated with more than one name:
The firm is indeed listed with the Better Business Bureau:
BBB Business Profile | Veterans Compensation & Pension Medical …
Of note, is a recent customer complaint listed on the website:
Problems with Product/Service
Vet Comp and Pen claims they assisted me in filing a ********** claim with ******* *******. Not only did they not assist me but now are stating that I owe them in upwards of $8399. I filed all claims with ******* ******* on my own and therefore required nor received any assistance from Vet Comp and… Pen.
(Show Less of Complaint)
Stop threatening demands with promises of attorney fees and collection fees, etc.
From: ******* ****** ************ **********************>
Date: Tue, Jan 3, 2017 at 4:29 PM
Subject: Re: You have a new message from the BBB of Northeast Florida in regards to your… complaint #********.
To: Better Business Bureau <*****************>
case has been resolved……ID ********
In the BBB profile, these are the additional phone numbers associated with the firm:
(888) 838-3726 **The toll free phone # listed seems to be for an entirely different entity (Veteran Corps of America)
What people are saying about unsolicited marketing texts/calls received from VC&Pen phone # 352-405-0022:
…and also from 352-405-0050 (listed as possibly a “spoof” phone #):
This from the VA’s Official Blog:
a snippet from responses to that blog post:
gina uribe September 17, 2011 at 12:43 pm
I agree..the C&P system (compensation and pension) is broken…vets are not receiving what is deserved for their military related disabilities due to various reasons…and they are missing out on MANY secondary conditions due to lack of knowledge and guidance from non medical veteran service officers who do not understand pathophysiology and pharmacology, etc….erroneous claims or missed claims are being filed and bogging down the system. As a previous C&P examiner and trainer as well as a committee member for DEMO (disability exam management office) who recently helped with the development of DBQ (disability benefits questionaires) that are recently instituted throughout the nation, I have seen how inadequate the system is. Thus I have resigned my position with VHA and gone into private medical consulting to assist vets with the preparation and filing of compensation claims in order to maximize the potential of success in winning deserving claims, and decrease denials (less than 20% are ever overturned once denied!)…check out my website for more info http://www.vetcompandpen.com …..
Kevin janey December 10, 2011 at 11:41 am
You and non of your associates are accredited by VA assist, prepare, and prosecute veterans claims. Furthermore, it is illegal to charge veterans (whether you’re accredited or not) for such services if they are filing for initial benefits. In order to be able to charge a veteran for such services, you MUST first be accredited by VA, AND the secondly the claim must be on appeal. Then, and only then can a fee be payable! It is organizations such as yours who give advocates a bad reputation.
I will be notifying the VA’s Office of the General Counsel of your organization and so-called services.
Accredited claims agent
Now, Mr. Janey took great umbrage with Ms. Uribe’s post response and for just cause…he is what he says he is:
- Kevin Janey, VA Accredited Claims Agent
On his website, Mr. Janey does a great job explaining what a legitimate, accredited VA claims agent is as well as explaining the process:
As with AskNod, Mr. Janey is easily found in VA’s accreditation database for Attorneys, Claims Agents, or Veterans Service Organizations (VSO) Representatives.
This from Reddit:
Help! What is the Vet Comp & Pen Medical Consulting LLC? – Reddit
The poster, “BiminiFritz”, represents himself as “Jim Hill President & CEO” of Vet Comp & Pen Medical Consulting LLC extolling the virtues of his consulting firm. Perhaps someone already has or will be taking Mr. Hill up on #6 of his response:
“6. If you think we are a scam, or run across anyone taking advantage of veterans, you need to CONTACT the OFFICE of THE INSPECTOR GENERAL for the Dept of Veteran Affairs. Our office address is:
Vet Comp & Pen Medical Consulting,LLC 410 SW 140th Terrace Newberry, FL 32669 888-98-Veteran”
Aren’t you glad she doesn’t work for the FBI or VA’s VAOIG? Wait. Scratch that. She’s light years ahead of both of them and Homeland Security as well.
P.S. As a legal ploy, I/we at asknod.org disavow any agreement with what Kathleen has uncovered. We trust her to be honest and unbiased. As she has no dog in this fight, it cannot be considered slander. We merely offer her a soapbox to theorize and espouse different theories on the bona fides of Vet Comp and Pen Consulting I have personally sent Mr. Hill an invitation to rebut anything she said here and provide him with his own soapbox in turn to defend his business and employees. To date (June 13, 2017), he has not availed himself of the opportunity. Ever since the Wounded Warrior Project debacle, I have learned to offer anything I say as conjecture and not fact (or lies). I continue in this noble tradition and try to help Vets. Part of that mission involves identifying useful tools such as VC&PC LLC and offering them to you for your possible use in your claims. Nothing I offer carries the endorsement of asknod.org but merely a tool worth investigating. If you return with a horror story, you are free to share it. I do not apply my hallmark of respectability to anyone other than NOVA attorneys and VA Nonattorney Practitioners (Agents)
And that’s all I’m going to say about that.
PPS. A fellow VA attorney finally solved the mystery of how VAClaimPros knows you have won a claim. Apparently, from testimonials of former clients, a prospective Vet is required to divulge his or her VA eBenefits password and PIV to Claim Pros as a condition of the contract. This allows them to access your account and determine if you have won anything. If it involves any of their “work” (and I use that term loosely), they mail you a bill. Apparently, when you go in for one of their c&p exams for an IMO, they investigate you from stem to stern and record any and all injuries/diseases and ostensibly prepare IMOs for those as well.
My advice to Veterans is simple. If you terminate your services with these folks, change your ebenefits or va.gov PIV credentials to prevent unauthorized access afterwards. The VA OIG and OGC have declined to prosecute this particular outfit citing no authority or oversight. More Vets’ “help” sites are springing up daily. The only legitimate one I am aware of is Valor4Vet.
Ms. Spangenberg, the owner of the company is an accredited VA agent and in compliance with the regulation 38 CFR Part XIV.
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This thread isn’t that new, but I ran across this during research on Vet Comp and Pen. I had contacted them first, and decided to research them while waiting for some responses. I do work so I don’t have the time to run around and do all the leg work on my own. The service they offer is very enticing and I was on the fence for a couple weeks. What turned me off from them was the very VERY aggressive sales practice. I had yet to sign any agreements, and I received text after text and emails galore daily. There was one rep who would call me with a phone number spoofer, changing the number on caller ID to look like it was from Louisiana, then Idaho, then Florida, etc… That was enough of a bad business practice to make me tell her to leave me alone. I figured that once I signed on, the phone calls would probably stop until they wanted money. It is obviously commission driven, without any real regard to respect, i’d get text messages at night while in bed, and phone calls at 7 am. I cant imagine what the calls would be like when its time to fork over money. Worse than a debt collector. Plus after realizing id be the one going to physicians, paying out of pocket for that, and filing with the VA on my own, I don’t need those scoundrels. And the extra fees for “specialized” services? I just don’t trust them. They might bring you extra money, but when it comes to them and their money, I can tell that’s the priority. I’m glad you have this site, it helped to open my eyes.
So, they actually take 10% for back pay. Regardless, I wouldn’t of had the money if it weren’t for them. I’m grateful.
In the new world of the AMA, you will discover advocates at the bigger firms will “front” you the cost of a $2,000 nexus letter/Independent Medical Opinion (IMO). Granted, agents and attorneys charge 20% of the win, but almost always win. VC&P produces a product for you but are precluded by law from filing or litigating your claim. Finding a doctor to do a nexus letter is simple. Google “Need medical nexus letter”. Shoot. I used to go to SSA lawyer’s offices and ask them for their list of go-to doctors back in the day. This process is older than the hills, Justin.
My fellow veteran is going to a comp and penn exam to increase his ptsd rating. The doctor will be the same one who rated him a few years ago. This doctor was inappropriate and literally teased my friend about his situation. Can he request another examiner?
Better yet, take your camera phone in and record the audio with it in your front pocket (out of sight). Then do a transcription and submit it as evidence in your claim asking for a new “independent” examination that is unbiased. While I might be “different” in my style of representing Vets, I usually go in with them to a PTSD exam if they are local.
Hi, I am Doug. I am one of those fed-up vets. I applied and was denied. I had what I felt was great help from the VFW. The judgement was wrong according to my medical records. It took the wind out of my sails. The thing about the system is that the ones who really need VA help don’t have the energy to fight. I am here, on your site, because I was looking for help and decided to check the VA Claims Pro out. Thanks for the info. How do I find someone reputable to help me? After reading, I now understand why it is hard to find anyone.
Just for giggles. Why there?
This is NOT a promotion or recommendation but a commentary.
VA Claim Pros 0 Jose D. Diego Street Suite 3B Aguadilla, Puerto Rico 00603 United States (800) 477-4142
My best suggestion as to where to go for good help is here. https://www.vetadvocates.org/cpages/home
I belong to NOVA and am proud to be an ethical VA nonattorney practitioner. Unfortunately, due to this website, I am overbooked for work until I die. I apologize for this. I never want to become like one of those VSO outfits and fail to return your calls or help. It’s difficult as it is. However, I do have a heart and if you are dying or a widow with a pending appeal, I generally will agree to represent you.
After allowing this to simmer for a year, I agree in principle with Mr. Jim Hill, the owner of Vetscomp&pen. Having experienced all facets of this system from using VSOs to attorneys over 28 years, it is true that some Vets-indeed far more than you would suspect- are tired of working with VA and would pay to have a service like this to do it for them. I get that. There’s a niche somewhere for everyone. I also retract the idea that it is “evil” to charge. I am forced to do so to help cover all the pro bono Vets I service.
VSOs, by Congressional Statute and their charter, are required to help the VA develop the claim-not help the Veteran. An attorney/agent on the other hand is required to rep the Vet. I have a seamless system. You come to me with a denial and I get you an IMO for $2K. That’s what I pay-and what you pay. If we win, I get the 20% from the date of the claim plus the $2 K back for the IMO I bought you. On its face that is essentially what VC&P does. They develop your medical defense needed to win but without any of the legal work. You still have to pay that lawyer/agent his 20% of the retro, or go VSO/pro se on top of VC&P’s work and pray you win. I won’t say which one is cheaper. Do your homework. Mr. Hill is a valuable asset for a finite cohort of Veterans who don’t mind paying for farming it out. Everyone has their price. Some Vets have to work and do not have time to devote to this process. Worse, there are a finite number of knowledgeable Veterans Attorneys and only 350 agents who do this. That may be your hardest task after VC&P does the medical work for you.
yes scam I would agree I was talked into this contract of in-cancellable measures in their words… I wont recommend them at all beware and do it yourself or ask a free group who wont take 6700.00 for no work done. I had a few read this one and they all agreed I wouldn’t sign that its a rip off taking money for what.. the vet did the years the vet lives with the pain.. while they take what is due…
for one who has mistakenly dealt with them I can say shame on them… their are probably a lot more out their of course their contract is un-cancellable in their words and the Fees are outrageous I was talked into this contract and now I fight..i did all the work… so for myself yes beware and I wont be recommending them to anyone..
I guess the most damning of all is the mere idea of charging the Vet a percentage of the award (think lump sum payments of old CUE for $900 K) as an attorney would do. The cost of an examination and write up of the report for nexus to disability is a finite cost. Lots of folks do that as doctors only. The outfit here in question appears to think that if they write a really good one, you’ll get more and so should they. Attorneys are the ones who will carry the water- not the medical disability outfit. They are the ones who build the case and win it for the Vet. How do you charge 20% and then a medical company jumps in and takes another bite. Pretty soon, the Vet has lost 40% (or more) of the pot and is the one who gets had. There’s more than one fish in the ocean that provides this service-at a fixed rate, I might add.
Why don’t you share the rest of the research about Vet Com & Pen Medical Consulting with your readers? Search Google and read the 4.8 out of 5 star average reviews and ratings from our clients. Or the fact that we have an A+ Rating from the BBB (The highest possible BBB rating). Seems like you’re extremely biased and quite uninformed about what we actually do.
An unbiased editor would get the facts… our services are far more comprehensive than you either know or want to share with your readers. Perhaps you thrive and drive your personal VA Accredited Agent business off of conspiracy theories and like to spin the stories like the major news channels often do… Do veterans a favor and be a balanced reporter… report the facts.
Dear Mr. Hill,
I would be glad to share more but I did not write the article. I merrily allowed Kathleen to present her findings. I have no druthers pro or con on your services. Your glossing over the true author’s identity shows your same failure “to get the facts.”
Drs. Bash and Ellis have dominated this market for years. Competition is always good for everyone as it keeps the price down. You are free to ask for equal space here. I would gladly write up an article on what you wish to illuminate or better yet- provide you with editorial freedom to do so yourself. Satisfied Vets are Happy Vets. Qualified IMOs that put the chicken in the pot is evidence the process works. If you have a better mousetrap for less, please indulge us by all means.
As for my ” VA agent business”, sir, I don’t need to, nor do I, advertise. You must not get out much if you think 347 accredited agents need to advertise. VA provides us with far more than we can ever serve.
For clarity, my comment was directed at your editorial statement: “the most damning of all is the ..charging a Vet a percentage of the award… the cost is finite…”
While it is reasonable to assume our services are similar to Bash and others, we are quite different (not taking anything away from them). To my knowledge, nobody else offers our unique combination of medical expertise and provides a veteran a ZERO RISK opportunity to navigate the sometimes lengthy process all the way to winning their award with NO up-front payments. All of our medical consulting fees are contingency-based… you only pay when you win. Our standard fee agreement is equal to 5 months worth of the increase we help you win and we allow you to pay 1/2 of the increase each month for the first 10 months after you win your claim.
To my knowledge, we are the only team that provides veterans a FREE personalized VA Medical Claims Strategy with no commitment or obligation. Simply complete our medical survey and provide us copies of your VA Rating Breakdown letter and all VA Rating Decison letters and we will give you a detailed report on which claims you are Medically, Legally & Ethically qualified for… including secondary and residual claims.
How is this different than a VSO? Well – the facts speak for themselves: Our team regularly finds claims veterans don’t even know they are qualified for. We recently studied VA claims for several dozen randomly selected veterans who were already VA rated between 10% and 90%. We discovered more than 8 out of 10 were being shortchanged by an average of $1137 per month!
WHO ELSE offers to use their extensive medical expertise (literally hundreds of years of expertise in pathophysiology & pharmacology and millions of pages of medical records reviewed with and over 40,000 claims worked) to help you find a bunch of claims you weren’t aware of – for FREE and then says you can choose to go VSO, DIY, or PRO (attorney, agent, medical consultant etc) with no pressure or obligation? We’re just happy to help you get all that you deserve.
MOST doctors and attorneys don’t know how to find and win a GERD (heartburn) claim secondary to an ankle injury… or how to uncover and win highly valuable CUE claims the veteran isn’t even aware of (lots of agents and attorneys can find CUEs for veterans complaining about being screwed by the VA – it’s quite a bit harder to find things veterans don’t know they got short-changed on).
There’s a lot of experts out there like Bash & Ellis to help the 22 million veterans who deserve everything they are medically, legally & ethically qualified for… Vet Comp & Pen Medical Consulting isn’t the only option, and we are NOT the right fit for everyone nor can we please everyone. BUT we encourage our clients to feel free to use a VSO or do it yourself – the ones we work with, go into this with their eyes wide open and know they have other options but choose to hit the easy button and let our team of professionals help them.
Well said. And with that goes a minor codicil at my website. I have a gastroenterologist/hepatologist formerly employed by the VA in Nashville who offers his IMO services here free for any Veteran who contracted HCV during his/her service. Similarly, I have a Dermatologist I helped achieve 100% for psoriasis who was so overwhelmed with our “free” proffered help, he’s offered to help pay it forward to others free. Without demeaning your claims to service to Vets above and beyond the call of duty, sir, I have helped over 500 of my fellow Veterans attain, at a minimum, TDIU , and in most cases, 100% schedular for HCV due to various risk factors for HCV. My devotion to this enterprise is simple. I know, were the shoe on the other foot, they would do it for me. I am glad your shop is open to Vets to help them win. My only concern is the degree of avarice. I do this in most cases pro bono which I freely admit you cannot. I do occasionally hit big ticket SMC claims as high as $1.25 million but never set out to focus on them to the exclusion of the Vets with less lucrative claims. My most recent win? $41 dollars which I had to waive in any event as I helped the Vet file his initial claim rather than a claim at the NOD stage. Considering the VA “dealer prep and destination fees” deducts $100 as a handling fee, I would have to invest $59 to recoup the $41. I’m not sure your altruism extends that far. I fear you arrive here attempting to compare apples to orangutans which is unfortunate. My interests are very single minded and focused. I fight for the Vet-not the money. Relax, Mr. Hill. I do not abhor you and your kind. I merely consider you somewhat akin to a vulture. You serve a purpose and are indispensable. That doesn’t make you any more or less palatable. As I offered previously, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will offer you a berth for as long as you desire- free to offer help to Veterans. My only codicil would be that you were limited to the same basic 20% (and no more) of any retroactive wins split with the attorney who represents the Veteran. Rest assured, you will never meet a VSO who “represents” Vets. Their Congressional Charter forbids that. I have no problems living within those means and actually have done so for $0.00 for the last twenty eight years. I guess you can say stupid is as stupid does but I have no problem sleeping at night. If you may recall, I’m one of the idiots along with Dean Graham who was sued by the Wounded Wallet Project in February 2015. You might note the folks who sued me no longer are employed there.
We often overlook why we are here. I came to help Veterans attain service connection. What is it you aspire to?
I used them recently. I know this is a “dead” thread but there is info people should know. Do they help? Heck, I live in rural SC. Good luck finding a Dr for any sort of nexus… VACP help me greatly there. Cost will be around $1200 for the actual “medical” services (nexus, IMO, etc) when all is said and done. What I DON’T like is the predatory “consulting”. Yes, Jim, sorry, I said it. It should not cost over $8K for a referral to a medical pro and to have someone type a few lines on a NOD. I mean, seriously. That’s rather exorbitant. In hindsight, I would have used a well known nexus Dr such as Bash. I can type out my own NOD thanks, but you don’t have that option with VACP. But, when you don’t know the “game” and you see the VACP google results it sure looks attractive.
While my claims were in DRO review VACP referred me to an affiliated attorney who would have charged 30% of my back pay on top of my debt to VACP. Seriously? No, not doing that. Wow.
Do they help? Yes, in my case, they got some done. Not all of it. Are they overpriced? Yes. But, if you don’t know where else to turn, they can help at a potentially very high price. The ability to get you a nexus and IMO at a fair price for the actual medical end, 100%. Charging thousands for a referral and a few lines typed on a Nod? 1%.
Shoot. Nothing’s a dead thread here. We always get a ping when you post. Since I wrote this, I became accredited and spent years finding qualified IMO folks at a reasonable price. The best for the money is out of Connecticut but requires an intervenor such as an agent/attorney. The cost is $2,000 for a complete writeup on each subject of all residuals and secondaries. Google Mednick Assoc. You do not need to see the doctor face-to-face.
Vetcompandpen is pretty awesome and I recommend them. Been trying this using various VSO’s and since there is no incentive they don’t try that hard. These guys, although they charge 5x’s the increase, i have not complaints. I wouldn’t have gotten the money otherwise. Thank you vetcompandpen!
For some, Vet Comp and Pen is probably a good option. But… if you have a pending claim someone forgot to do in 1989 and you get a nexus letter from them, you might lose $30,000.00 using this 5X formula. I will point out you are in for the ride of your life if you ever file any more claims for secondaries. Your “contract” will be binding on any future claims you file. VSOs are not permitted to “develop” your claim. They are there to fill out your VAF 21-526 and stick a stamp on the envelope. Period. Their Congressional mandate for their charter to do this clearly states “We promise to help the VA adjudicate the Veteran’s claims.” That’s a far cry from “We promise to help the Veteran win.”
Thanks for your input.
Some discussion on hadit too.
I think that the fact that none of the employees are agents (zip code 32669) and that they buy vets information and contact them, are big red flags.
“I think that the fact that none of the employees are agents (zip code 32669) and that they buy vets information and contact them, are big red flags.”
Yes, those would definitely be read flags. The internet is a wealth of resources, so researching and rooting out potential clients is just smart business.
I didn’t have a chance to look into vet comp and pen, had just heard about them, but am glad other folks were able to look into it and get more information.
Scammers everywhere! I hope you don’t get into trouble again for exposing scammers living off vet charity and vet money. With almost a million potential new claimants from toxic water at marine base the con artists will be out in force. You do notice that not that many lawyers are rushing into VA claims as we thought a couple of years ago. No quick bucks there or fast settlements.
Wasn’t that water toxic going back to the sixties? I remember reading something about that some time back.
Check this page out.