It’s difficult to overstate the importance of the claims file in a VA claim. The claims file is the master set of documents and records that document such important factors as the cause and extent of disability or impairment for the veteran who is seeking benefits and/or compensation. The records contained in this file can be divided into medical and non-medical records.
Medical records are often, but not always from VA facilities and document routine visits, emergency care, long term therapy, test results, and similar records that are generated any time someone seeks health care.
Non-medical records are supplementary but still very relevant to the issues of cause and extent of disability. These can include statements of fact from the veteran or someone who served alongside him or her (often called a “buddy statement”). Service records, employment records, records of past VA claims, and miscellaneous files can also be a part of the claims file.
Typically I will order a c-file from the regional office once I have consulted with a veteran, reviewed their latest claim decision, and agreed to investigate his or her claim. Some claim files are small, others are massive collections of thousands of pages of records. The first task is to determine if there are parts missing. Like most bureaucracies, the VA can and does lose track of records, misfiles records and documents, or fails to send an entire file to a requesting party. I take the file and prepare an organizing index to help me determine what might be missing, and what the file needs in terms of development to successfully argue the veterans’ claim, and what complications there might be in terms of legal arguments or medical facts that will need to be addressed.
Please feel free to contact me at 515-480-1542, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or use the contact link on this website to discuss your claim.