What correspondence contains VA statement about acquiring records from federal sources?

lh830

Registered Member
#1
Does anyone know what type of VA correspondence contains the statement about the VA acquiring records from federal sources, like Military medical records, SSA, etc? I know I'm reading over it, but don't remember what letter contained it: letter for receipt of claim, the decision letter, statement of case, etc.
 

Warrior644

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#3
Does anyone know what type of VA correspondence contains the statement about the VA acquiring records from federal sources, like Military medical records, SSA, etc? I know I'm reading over it, but don't remember what letter contained it: letter for receipt of claim, the decision letter, statement of case, etc.
Welcome (back) to the PEB Forum! :)

Indeed, it's located in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (DoVA) Web Automated Reference Manual System (WARMS). The WARMS includes manuals, directives, handbooks, Title 38 Code of Federal Regulations and more. As such, these publications provide information about the DoVA benefits policies and are only available on-line; therefore, these publications cannot be ordered from the DoVA.

More specifically as documented in "M21-1, Part I, Chapter 1, Section C - Requesting Records" of the WARMS (Article ID: 554400000014066), please reference the following excerpts:

1. Assisting With Federal Records Requests

I.1.C.1.a. VA’s Duty to Obtain Federal Records

The submission of a substantially completed application triggers the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA’s) duty to assist procedures which include a duty to make reasonable efforts to obtain relevant records in the custody of a Federal department or agency.

Reference: For information on circumstances when VA may refrain from providing assistance, see M21-1, Part I, 1.A.3.b.

I.1.C.1.b. Definition: Federal Records

Federal records are any documents in the custody of a Federal department or agency. Federal records include but are not limited to
  • service treatment records (STRs)
  • other service department records (such as personnel records, line-of-duty determinations, inpatient treatment records or behavioral health records) that are not included with the STRs
  • VA medical and other records (including Vet Center records and authorized VA medical treatment or examinations at a non-VA facility)
  • Social Security Administration (SSA) records
  • Public Health Service records, and
  • Department of Labor records.
References: For more information on development procedures for
I.1.C.1.c. Definition: Reasonable Efforts to Obtain Federal Records

Reasonable efforts to obtain relevant Federal records means VA must continue attempts to obtain the records until
  • records are obtained, or
  • it is reasonably certain that
    • the records do not exist, or
    • further efforts by VA to obtain the records would be futile.
References: For more information on
I.1.C.1.d. Concluding Federal Records Do Not Exist or Further Efforts Would be Futile

Determine on a case-by-case basis whether the requested Federal records do not exist or further attempts to obtain records would be futile based on
Important: DD Form 2963, Service Treatment Record (STR) Transfer or Certification is a certification of the completeness of all available STRs at discharge from service. Treat this, or a predecessor certification letter, as a statement from the records custodian that it is reasonably certain that additional STRs do not exist and further attempts to obtain additional records would be futile except as provided in M21-1, Part III, Subpart iii, 2.B.2.c.

References: For more information on
I.1.C.1.e. Claimant Cooperation with the Duty to Assist in Obtaining Federal Records

The claimant must cooperate with VA’s attempts to obtain Federal records by providing
  • information, when requested by VA, to identify and locate existing records including
    • the department or agency that is the custodian of the records
    • the approximate time frame covered by the records, and
    • for treatment records, a general description of the condition for which the treatment was provided
  • information sufficient for the records custodian to conduct a search of records when records are requested to corroborate a stressor-event in service, and
  • authorization to release existing records when requested by the department or agency custodian in the form acceptable to the custodian.
References: For more information on
Change Date: August 26, 2015

Thus, I quite often comment that "possessing well-informed knowledge is truly a powerful equalizer!"

Best Wishes!
 

gsfowler

Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
#4
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