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It's supposedly a law group that serves to expedite VA financial asst for veterans and their spouses. I have submitted all of the appropriate forms and $1450 for the AVA fee. Seven months later, the only response is a repeated "It should be approved very soon" every month. Have I been defrauded?

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Michele, you can check to see if AVA really is a law firm by checking the State Bar Association roster for your state. I did some quick checking via Google and found AVA law firms in other countries, but only in the US, in Illinois.

If you prefer, PM me the address of the firm and I'll see what I can find out for you.
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Michele, it is illegal for someone to charge to process an application with the VA. It can be done for free by you or a family member, or with the assistance of one of the service groups such as American Legion or VFW.

Did you provide information on assets as well? This is how these groups rope people in - they pretend to provide the application assistance for free, but require information on assets as part of application completion. Then they try to move the assets into financial products that benefit them or some entity with which they're affiliated.

Notwithstanding the fact that it often takes a long time for an application to be processed by the VA, I do think you've been defrauded, especially if you don't have a significant amount of assets from which this group can benefit.

I did some quick checking but couldn't find anything related to VA fraud by this company; however I do remember reading something in one of the posts here.

Spend some time doing research, contact the VA and ask if the application was ever filed. If not, send a certified letter to the AVA and demand copies of all the applications & data they prepared, as well as a return of your funds. If they won't, contact the VA; I believe it also has a fraud department. Contact your state's Attorney General and the FTC as well.

Google "VA Fraud" and you'll get hits on how to report fraud, but make sure that you've laid the groundwork by demanding that the AVA provides you with copies of documentation first as well as confirming that the VA hasn't received the application and paperwork.

If the VA confirms no receipt of the application, contact one of the service organizations to help you for free.
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BTW, the VA is notoriously slow in processing applications. Waiting a long time is not unusual.
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You should never pay for the application itself. There are attorneys who will help, but they will be recommended to you by a social worker or by the VA themselves. A social worker gave us the name of an attorney when she thought we may want to apply for VA benefits. We didn't qualify, so didn't follow through. I don't know what he would have charged to help. There will be no charge for the application itself. I don't know about AVA, but it sounds suspicious to me.
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