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    As Veteran Disability Claims Soar, Unaccredited Coaches Profit Off Frustration with VA System

    As Veteran Disability Claims Soar, Unaccredited Coaches Profit Off Frustration with VA System

    Jim Peckey was a young Navy petty officer stationed in when the 9/11 attacks happened. As the nation went on a war footing, he suddenly shifted from administrative and IT duties to lugging water and equipment 12 hours a day, seven days a week — work that left him with chronic neck and back pain. He retired in 2002 but he put off applying for benefits because, like millions of veterans, he felt overwhelmed by the paperwork required.

    That changed in 2020, when he watched a YouTube video in which a fellow veteran, Brian T. Reese, promised to help veterans navigate the benefits maze and lead “happier, healthier and wealthier” lives.

    Peckey signed on as a customer with Reese's company, Austin-based VA Claims Insider. The 44-year-old Abilene resident, who now does IT work for a defense contractor, said he was charged nearly $10,000 for about six hours of coaching, some of which included watching pre-recorded online informational sessions with as many as 400 other attendees at a time.

    Although Peckey did get a monthly disability check of around $1,500, he felt he was charged for information he could have found on the internet. To help him qualify for benefits, the company's coach pushed him to emphasize mental distress, Peckey said, even though what he considered that to be a “backseat concern” and wanted top-notch care for his chronic physical pain.

    “Nothing short of a nightmare,” he wrote in a December 2021 complaint…

    Continue Reading This Article At Military.com

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