Claims 101 and 201 dealt with VA. This one deals with the veteran and what he can do to help his claim through the system as quickly as possible. Information is provided by Networker67. 1. If you are initially filing FOR THE FIRST TIME. Send VA certified copy of your discharge IF YOU HAVE ONE. If you do not, DO NOT WAIT FOR ONE TO FILE YOUR CLAIM. The certified discharge copy just knocks out the service verification step. If you are a DRILLING RESERVIST, make sure you tell VA your current unit. Even better have your unit copy your SMR's and send them WITH your claim. 2. If you are filing a claim for increase in one or more of your SC Disabilities: List your VAMC Treatment dates and locations when YOU FILE. And make the list detailed ONLY TO THE CONDITIONS YOU ARE SEEKING INCREASE FOR. Doing that allows the VSR to pull the relevant VAMC records and get you scheduled for the C and P when your claim is STARTED. If you have received private treatment, OBTAIN the RELEVANT records and send them with the claim. YOU knock out the 30 to 60 days it takes for us to get them from your doctor. And you make sure we ONLY get the records RELEVANT to that condition. 3. If you are seeking additional Service Connection and/or Secondary Service Connection. Send your CONTINUITY of care records or medical evidence linking the claimed secondary condition to one of your SC Conditions, with your claim. If you do that a deferred review can be done which will get you a C and P MUCH QUICKER. 4. If you are adding dependents, USE THE VA FORM 21-686c. 5. Work with your service officer. Too many veterans have service officers and DO NOT WORK WITH THEM. 6. Remember this VERY IMPORTANT rule that so many veterans FORGET. Just because the VA Treats you DOESN'T mean its service connected. 7. Read your letters from VA, if they ask for something send it as quickly as you can. 8. Yep we got a Duty to ASSIST you in gathering your evidence. That means we have to help you obtain it. That doesn't stop or perclude you FROM OBTAINING it and sending it to us. We have to WRITE letters for everything we request. We have to give 30 to 60 days response time, and we must make two requests minimum. Before we ALERT YOU that we have assisted and ultimately it is up to you to provide the records needed to support your claim. 9. With the exception of records to verify PTSD Stressors from the military, Radiation Activity Reports and things of that nature. IF YOU KNOW Dr. Dolittle has done died and left us 12 years ago. And you know his old office is now a Dentists Office. Unless you can find out WHAT happened to his old records of his treatment of you. And you have a location for those records. DON'T LIST those records to support your claim. 10. If you receive private treatment, KNOW IN ADVANCE your doctors rules for releasing your records. Many doctors accept our 21-4142 to release your records to VA. JUST AS MANY DO NOT and require a special form. My experience has shown me that Doctors whose offices ARE PHYSICALLY in hopsitals require the hospitals release form to release the records. When you start your claim INQUIRE if that is the case. If that is the case GET THE FORM and send that form with the CLAIM. 11. If you move TELL VA when you move. You know how many claims are held up 60 or more days, because the veteran MOVED and his address of record is his address of 12 years ago. Very good information networker67. I have just one question for you. Once all your documentation is turned in to your VSO and you know that the VA has everything they need to rate your case what should you do. Many on this board say that the Veteran needs to be active and be involved and take charge of your own claim. I just never understood that thought after I knew for sure the VA had all evidence to work with, I thought it was best to let them do their work and wait for their results. What do you say. The benefits section is THREE distinct sections. Section I; Intake/Development - Where your claim starts, the records are gathered, the exams scheduled, and everything that is beneficial to the rater making a decision FAVORABLE to you is gathered. 75% of delays with claims happen right here. The sole object of this phase is to get a file ready for the rating authority. Section II: Rating/Adjudication - The developed claim goes to the rating authority and a rating decision produced. That decision goes to adjudication to be input in the system and the claim checked to make sure ALL ISSUES were addressed. If the veteran qualifies for additional benefits he is alerted to them. And the decision is communicated to the veteran. The delays here SHOULD come from claim backlog or work volume. But they don't. Section III: Notice of Disagreements/Appeals/Decision Review Pretty self explanatory area of the office. Now when you are proactive you reply to those letters. You make your exams and you give the system that little nudge to show the VA you care about you and your claim. Here's that nudge: Call the office 30 days after you are comfortable all the evidence has been sent to VA. This call is mainly to see if they got it, and are they about to send you for an exam. EVERY veteran should call the regional office 45 days after their LAST C&P exam, to make sure the folder was returned to the office from the hospital. Now that the hospital is fully automated you can cut that to 30 days. 45 Days after that call the RO again to make sure it is at least at the rating section. Once its in the rating section, here's where you SIT BACK and let the VA do the job. Because everything before the claim gets to rating is to get the claim to rating.