Accreditation and Annual Certification
In 2013, the department created a TDVS accreditation policy that has been shared with county leaders and County Service Officers. The department recommends accreditation to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. In accordance with Title 38 Code of Federal Regulations 14.629, no individual may assist claimants in preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims for VA benefits as an agent or attorney unless he or she has first been accredited by VA for such purposes.
According to TCA 58-3-111 (d), “all veterans’ service officers shall successfully complete training and be issued accreditation by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs within one (1) year from the date of appointment.” The Tennessee Department of Veterans Services is closely monitoring training attendance, test scores and office hours to determine recommendations for accreditation, continued accreditation or revocation of accreditation. Per Title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) the County Service Officer (CSO) is required to be a paid employee of the county working as a CSO for not less than 1,000 hours annually. Each CSO must also successfully complete a course of training and examination. In order to ensure Veterans and their families are receiving high quality, knowledgeable, consistent claims assistance; the department enforces accreditation requirements.
In cases when accreditation standards are not being met, department executive leadership meets with county leaders to discuss the shortcomings and solutions.
Additionally, the department established the Learning & Development Division in 2014 which offers accreditation training for new service officers, quarterly regional training sessions and annual certification training for employees and county partners.
The Learning & Development Division monitors test scores and comprehension. This data is used to determine remedial training needs which are offered to County Service Officers per their needs.
Regional Directors offer monthly training for County Service Officer partners, conduct office visits based on need and are available for daily consultations.