VA CHANGES POWER OF ATTORNEY (POA) FORM 21-22a
The VA has made some changes to their Power of Attorney (POA) Form 21-22a. This is a form that seems to be updated frequently.
What is important about the changes is in Section 7B. The Veteran or Widow filling out this form now has the chance to appoint an individual as their POA, such as a daughter, son, friend, etc. There are restrictions, of course, but they are quite lenient. The restrictions and definitions of how an individual can represent a Veteran are listed in 38 CFR §14.630.
It is our opinion in reading §14.630 that anyone can now represent a Veteran as POA for any claim that Veteran may have, including Aid and Attendance. This is HUGE! Previously, a Veteran who had a claim had to stand before the VA alone and could only get representation during an appeal--not during the initial claim. Now, Veterans have the choice to have someone fight for them. More importantly, it can be someone close--someone who is aware of all the circumstances and can contact the VA on behalf of the Veteran/Widow.
Since this is a recent change, it is likely that many VA employees will not be aware of it. We recommend printing not only the new POA form 21-22a, but also the referenced 38 CFR §14.630 to have as a record in case you run across someone who is not familiar with the new regulations. And keep copies of EVERYTHING!
Please note that this is our interpretation of the changes to Form 21-22a. We are not attorneys. We highly recommend that you consult your legal counsel if you have further questions.