Posted on Apr 23, 2015
CSM Michael Lynch
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Sharing to assist you prior to your transition - hope it helps!

General Overview of Filing a Service Claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs

Get Everything documented by the Service DR's prior to transition have everything in your records. Go to sick call and tell the Doc that you need XXX documented in your medical record. This makes it official and easier for the VA to look at when considering the claim

D is VERY IMPORTANT KEEP A COPY ALWAYS FOR YOUR OWN USE LATER

FIRST: Gather all necessary evidence and documentation for your disability claim.
A. VA FORM 21-526EZ
- Insure you have information to complete all boxes.
B. VA FORMS: 21-4142- authorization to release information; 21-686c- status of any dependents;
21-4138- statement(s) to support Veteran’s claim; and/or 21-0781- statement claim for PTSD.
C. COPIES OF ANY DD-214 SIGNED DISCHARGE DOCUMENTS
- Include all of them from active duty tours, deployments, drilling periods, and applicable training.
- If not yet discharged, gather all other documents now. May contact an Intake Site for assistance.
- More information on pre-discharge opportunities: http://www.benefits.va.gov/predischarge/
D. COPIES OF ANY AND ALL MEDICAL/TREATMENT/PERSONNEL RECORDS
- Track down all of your service treatment records and private non-government medical records.
- Establish a link between your current disability and the event, injury, or disease in military service.
SECOND: Review it all. - Make copies of all the documents and records for your safekeeping.
- Review the completion and clarity of your documents before you submit.
- Ensure all information is accurate, complete, timely, and relevant.
More info on requirements for a fully developed claim: http://www.benefits.va.gov/FDC/checklist.asp
THIRD - Submit your claims package online, in person, or by mail/fax.
- ONLINE: Visit http://www.ebenefits.va.gov to create an account and track the claims process online.
Only if you think you’ve built a complete case for yourself. http://www.benefits.va.gov/fdc/
- IN PERSON: Visit http://www.va.gov/directory/guide/ to find your local VA Medical Center, Outpatient Clinic, Vet Center, Benefits Office, or other available local service organization. Be diligent in your own tracking and communication with the service provider. Help them help you.
- MAIL/FAX: Call [login to see] to find out the best way to submit your claim package.
FINAL - Please be patient. - Respond to communication as quickly as possible.
- Update the VA with contact information changes.
- Amend the claim with any major changes in your condition.
- Claim decision will be mailed to you when complete.

Find a VSO- Veterans Service Office to assist they are good at it and help: DAV, VFW, American Legion

REMEMBER - The VA can help meet your needs and offer guidance online, in-person, and by phone.

- http://www.benefits.va.gov offers info on online tracking, locations, FAQs, special programs, and more.
- General Assistance: [login to see] and Veterans Crisis Line: [login to see]
Posted in these groups: Military civilian 600x338 TransitionChhhfnmfuj 1420036448753 VA Claim
Edited 7 y ago
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Responses: 4
SSG Human Resources Specialist
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I would highly suggest getting a Veteran Services Officer.
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CSM Michael Lynch
CSM Michael Lynch
7 y
Right on important as well, adding it Thanks SSG (Join to see)
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1SG Brian Adams
1SG Brian Adams
7 y
I have done all my claims by myself. Nothing wrong with getting a VSO!
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MSG Wade Huffman
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Most important thing, as SSG (Join to see) stated, is to see a VSO BEFORE you file ANYTHING.
You mention filing a 526EZ along with a 21-4142 and this is incorrect. The 526EZ is only used for a 'fully developed' claim. The submission of a 4142 with the 526EZ will automatically kick the form into 'standard processing' and slow the process to a snails pace.
There are just so many potential pitfalls and nuances depending on the particulars of any claim that I would strongly discourage anyone from filing on their own.
If you wish to locate a VSO in your area, here is one link that you may want to consider:

http://nacvso.org/find-a-service-officer/

There are also VSOs that work directly for national service organizations (VFW, Legion, AMVETS, DAV, etc) and they can be found on those organizations web pages as well.
All services are provided free of charge.
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CSM Michael Lynch
CSM Michael Lynch
7 y
MSG Wade Huffman Thank you and yes most transition points advise this and have you select one prior to departing so you have their contact info when you get to your location.
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MAJ Public Affairs Specialist
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Good info CSM Michael Lynch !! The only other thing I would recommend is for SMs to get everything documented before transitioning. Go to sick call and tell the Doc that you need XXX documented in your medical record. This makes it official and easier for the VA to look at when considering the claim.
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CSM Michael Lynch
CSM Michael Lynch
7 y
@ CPT Ryan Hignight Absolutely that is more important than getting copies they both should happen.
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