If you are seeking assistance from an attorney or claims assistant in obtaining VA benefits, then you must ensure that they are VA accredited. Currently the VA accreditation process takes approximately 90 to 120 days. However, individuals who seek to represent you in appealing a denial or a request for reopening of a claim must be VA accredited. The VA does not make any exceptions to this rule. There are several reasons why obtaining an attorney or claims assistant may be beneficial rather than going through a veteran service organization (VSO). First, attorneys and claims assistants may be selective of which cases he or she takes. This means that they may provide you with more individualized attention. Second, many attorneys and claims assistants are either former VA employees or have specialized knowledge of the VA Rating Schedule. This can be quite beneficial to clients who seek quick assessments of their claims as well as assistance in preparing time sensitive case files for appeal or request for reopening. See http://www.va.gov/ogc/apps/accreditation/index.asp for additional information pertaining to VA accreditation.