H. R. 4914
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
March 9, 2006
Mr. Evans (for himself and Ms. Berkley) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
To amend title 38, United States Code, to remove certain limitations on attorney representation of claimants for veterans benefits in administrative proceedings before the Department of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as the
Veterans' Choice of Representation Act.
Attorney representation in veterans benefits claims cases before the Department of Veterans Affairs
Authority for representation after notice of disagreement is filed
Subsection (c) of section 5904 of title 38, United States Code, is amended in paragraph (1) by striking
the Board of Veterans’ Appeals first makes a final decision in the case and inserting
the claimant files a Notice of Disagreement in the case.
Repeal of one-year period for retaining attorney
Paragraph (1) of such subsection is further amended by striking the second and third sentences.
Such subsection is further amended—
in paragraph (1), by striking
paragraph (3) and inserting
in paragraph (2)—
after the Board first makes a final decision in the case and inserting
after a Notice of Disagreement is filed in the case;
with the Board at such time as may be specified by the Board and inserting
with the Secretary pursuant to regulations prescribed by the Secretary; and
by striking the second and third sentences;
by redesignating paragraph (3) as paragraph (4); and
by inserting after paragraph (2) the following new paragraph (3):
The Secretary, upon the Secretary’s own motion or at the request of the claimant, may review a fee agreement filed pursuant to paragraph (2) and may order a reduction in the fee called for in the agreement if the Secretary finds that the fee is excessive or unreasonable. A fee that does not exceed 20 percent of the past due amount of benefits awarded on the claim shall be presumed to be reasonable.
A finding or order of the Secretary under subparagraph (A) may be reviewed by the United States Board of Veterans’ Appeals under section 7104 of this title.
Payment of attorneys fees
Subsection (d)(3) of such section is amended by striking
may in the first sentence and inserting
The amendments made by this section shall apply—
to any case for which a Notice of Disagreement is filed with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on or after the date of the enactment of this Act; and
to any case for which a Notice of Disagreement is filed with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs before the date of the enactment of this Act and that as of the date of the enactment of this Act is pending before the Secretary.