Watch this video as VA Disability Attorney John V. Tucker describes the importance of a VA Claim File (the C-file) in a veteran’s service-connected disability benefit claim.
If you have a claim for service-connected compensation, then you need to know why your C-file is so important.
Your C- file contains all of the documents that the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) has on your claim for any of your service-connected disabilities. All of your records for any claim are located within your C-file. It is essentially all of the evidence that VA has about you and your disability claims. It will not automatically include your health records. If you have been treated at a VA health center, you will need to obtain those records and have them sent to the VBA to have them added into your C File. If you do have records, you need to make sure that you get them added to your C-file. Without those records, I cannot even give you a legal opinion….why? Because the C-file is the evidence the VA is considering in your VA disability claims.
This is the most important thing about your C-file. It contains your evidence.
If your claim for VA service connected disability benefits is denied, to keep your claim moving along, you should get the C file yourself. If you visit the VA website and search FOIA or Freedom of Information Act requests, you can learn how to request a copy of your C file.
You can always go to your local Regional Office in person and ask for your C-file, but make sure you file your request in writing so that you may prove the date of your request. It can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months to receive your C-file, but it makes things move a lot faster to have in hand when you speak to an attorney. Watch the video to learn more. Some helpful links are below:
To get your VA medical records – MyHealth eVet: https://www.myhealth.va.gov/mhv-portal-web/anonymous.portal
To get your military service records – National Personnel Record Ctr: https://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/index.html
You may have questions about your VA disability claim, and if you do, call one of our experienced VA attorneys at (866) 233-5044. We represent veterans all over the United States.
Video TranscriptWhat is your VA claim file, the C file? Why is it so important? I'm John Tucker. I'm a VA disability attorney and I represent veterans like you all across the United States in claims for VA service-connected compensation. If you have a claim for service-connected compensation you need to know what the claim file is and why it's so important. Let me tell you why.
First, the C file is all of the documents at the Veterans Benefits Administration, the VBA, has on your claim, or your claims, for service-connected disabilities. Whether you have one or 10 claims for service-connected disabilities they put all the records in the same file. Today that's maintained electronically and sometimes it's in different places in the VA system but it's basically all of the evidence the VA has about your VA disability claims.
Now keep this in mind, if you treat at a VA health facility, it's not your health records at that facility. Those records are maintained somewhere else by the VHA, the Veterans Health Administration. You would have to get those separately and send them to the Veterans Benefits Administration to get them into your C file.
So keep in mind if you have record with the VA health system you need to make sure that those get into your C file if you're treating at the VA health facility for your service-connected disabilities. That's really important because the people at the Veterans Benefits Administration often will not think go next door and ask the people at the health facility for their records about you.
Perhaps the most important thing about the C file is it can take a long time to get it. Veterans will often call me and it will take months before we can get that C file and without the C file, I can't give a veteran a legal opinion about their case because I don't know the evidence that exists. You may think you know, you may think you know what your doctors have said but until we see it in writing we don't know.
So here's a tip get the C file yourself to make a request to the VA. If you go on to their website and search for FOIA, a Freedom of Information Act request, you'll learn how you can send a request to them and ask for a copy of your C file. You can also do that in person at your local regional office and ask them how you asked for the C file. Do it in writing do it, do it in a way you can prove the date they received it.
Keep in mind it may take six or eight or even 10 months to get but it's best to have that in hand when you call an attorney like me about the claim. Get that going and you'll know more about your case than you ever did before.
I understand you may have some questions about your VA claim and if you do pick up the phone and call me on the phone number on your screen. I'd be happy to talk with you about your claim. Thank you for taking the time to watch. I'm John Tucker.