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How do I Become a Veteran Service Officer?

We have received a lot of questions  over the past three years, but one question has been asked by email and in the comment section multiple times. Veterans want to know “How do I become a Veteran Service Officer?”

The process is not difficult at all. In fact, there are actually only two absolute requirements to becoming a Veteran Service Officer (VSO). The first is to pass a background check, and the second is to pass a VSO exam. These are the only two things that are required in order to become an accredited VSO. However, nothing is ever as easy as that.

In a nutshell, VSOs train VSOs. In order to become a VSO, you have to have someone who will vouch for you and allow you to work under them. Veteran Service Officers are not lawyers and cannot have veterans sign Powers of Attorney (POA) to the VSO. Veteran service Offices work in partnership with Veteran Serving Organizations such as the VFW, American Legion, and Disabled American Veterans. When a VSO is accredited, they are accredited with the VA, and fall under the ‘umbrella’ of one or more of these organizations. Therefore, when a veteran signs a VA Form 21-22 appointing the VSO as a representative, it is covered under the approval of the veteran serving organization.

All that being said means that becoming a VSO will take a little time. How much depends on each individual. There has to be a training period of reading the manual of regulations. Thankfully, there is a manual put out by the National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) which takes CFR 38 (the federal code for veteran disabilities) and puts it into easier to understand terms.

In addition to learning the ins and outs of the system there are countless different circumstances tha veterans bring with their claims. Working under an experienced VSO allows a beginner to learn how to handle the difficult cases.

So you cannot just decide out of the blue that you want to be a VSO, pick up a book and read it, and then go online to take a test. There has to be a reason for you to be a VSO. In other words, you have been hired by a county veteran services office, or you are preparing to become a VSO for one of the veteran serving organizations. You will not be an accredited VSO working out on your own. It just doesn’t work that way.

So, if you’re wanting to become a VSO, first find a position as a VSO. Many VFW and American Legion posts would love to have an extra VSO volunteer to help members and other veterans with their claims.Talk to your local post and see if they would like to sponsor you to get accredited.

Hopefully this cleared some up, though it is possible it simply muddied the waters further. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to drop them below or email us at

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