First and for most, do not file a claim on your own. The system is more complicated than meets the eye. Providing evidence, writing the proper terms and phrases can be crucial to one's claim. Help: Most Veteran's Service Organizations provide competent claims benefits assistance. Some states and counties may provide the same competent help with claims. All these groups are accredited by the VA to provide the help you will need. Their services are provided for free. They are up to date on VA changes. Most of the VSOs have offices at Va Regional Offices and some are located at VA Hospitals. State and County Offices may be found in local areas with in them. The need for a lawyer is rare except at the Veterans' Court of appeals. I spent 8 years as a Director of my County's Veteran's Service Agency and 7 1/2 years as a Deputy Director for my State's Division of Veterans' Affairs. I was accredited by VA to represent 3 Veterans Organizations.