Tester Backs Bipartisan Effort to Protect Montana Veterans Filing Benefits Claims

Chairman introduced bipartisan bill to reinstate criminal penalties for predatory, unaccredited veterans’ claims representatives ripping off veterans

(U.S. Senate) – Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester recently introduced bipartisan legislation to hold unaccredited entities targeting Montana veterans and survivors accountable for predatory practices.

The Senator’s Governing Unaccredited Representatives Defrauding (GUARD) VA Benefits Act would reinstate criminal penalties for unaccredited claim representatives who charge veterans unauthorized fees while helping file a Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) disability claim.

“We’ve got to do everything we can to crack down on bad actors exploiting veterans’ hard-earned benefits,” said Tester. “That’s why I’m proud to introduce bipartisan legislation that’ll hold these predatory representatives accountable by reinstating criminal penalties to protect the men and women who fought to protect our country.”

The GUARD VA Benefits Act is supported by various Veterans Service Organizations and veteran advocates, including Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), Disabled American Veterans (DAV), and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).

A staunch advocate of bolstering veterans’ hard-earned benefits, Tester has pushed VA to increase proactive, community-based outreach to better protect veterans and survivors from predatory pension poachers. The Senator also introduced the Veterans Benefits Improvement Act of 2021 to tackle VA’s claims backlog and provide veterans with timelier access to their earned benefits.