Your VA c-file, or claims file, contains dozens—sometimes hundreds of documents pertaining to your service and health history. Everything in the file is on paper. The entire file can run thousands of pages.
Along with your military, veteran and civilian medical records, Social Security information, and service history, the file also contains a full record of previous attempts to file for benefits and how the VA responded to each.
At least, it should contain all these things—in their most up-to-date versions, reflecting the most current and persuasive findings about your condition and how they are service-connected.
Mainly, you want a hands-on review of the C-file so you can get a detailed overview of the information the VA had when it made the determination on your claim. You may be able to find mistakes, missed or out-of-date records, and other issues that could help you and your attorney in the appeals process.
How to Get a Copy of Your C-file
Every veteran is entitled to one free copy of his or her C-file. Contact the VA Regional Office where you originally filed to request one.
Unfortunately, it can take several months—sometimes more than a year—to collect all the documents associated with your file. If there are unexpected delays in obtaining your file, you can file a Freedom of Information Act request to expedite your copy, usually within 20 days. There may be additional charges associated with FOIA requests.
If you have any concerns about your C-file, speak with a dedicated Houston VA benefits lawyer as soon as you are able. Call Morgan & Weisbrod toll-free: 800-800-6353.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.