Ethical Duties of a VSO and How to Navigate Common VSO Ethical Dilemmas (VSO)

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Presenters: Rick Spataro & Helen Chong

Length: 98 minutes

Recorded: September 2019


Webinar Description:

Veterans Service Officers (VSOs) want to be the best advocates for their veterans, but must balance the amount of time they devote to a single veteran’s case with their need to represent numerous other veterans. It’s not always clear what they must do to satisfy their ethical responsibilities to competently represent each veteran.
VSOs also face numerous ethical dilemmas when representing veterans. What do I do if a veteran wants me to help him file a claim that I think has no merit? Must I submit evidence to the VA that may hurt a veteran’s claim? Can I act on behalf of a veteran with severely diminished mental capacity? Can I accept any type of gift from a veteran? What should I do if I suspect a veteran is being dishonest with the VA? Can I tell anyone if a veteran mentions something to me in confidence that implies she is contemplating suicide? Am I required to notify the VA if I discover there is a mistake in a VA decision that is favorable to a veteran?
In some situations, the answer is clear. But in many other situations, the VA has provided limited or no guidance for VSOs. In this webinar, we will review several hypothetical scenarios that present common ethical dilemmas faced by VSOs and provide advice on how to best navigate through them.

By attending this recorded webinar, you will learn:

• The basic ethical obligations of a VSO
• How to best handle numerous ethical dilemmas VSOs frequently encounter
• Tips for choosing how to act when you have competing ethical duties
• Suggestions for balancing your ethical obligations to a claimant, your organization, and the VA

This webinar will be co-presented by Richard V. Spataro, Director of Training and Publications, and Helen Chong, NVLSP Training Associate and a former Magistrate of the Supreme Court of Virginia.