This eBook will teach you how to get C-Files (paper and electronic) from the VA Regional Office.
How to Get your VA C-File

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    • CLAIM COMPLETE--Frm 80% to 100% Comb Rtg
      Congratulations on your win, hope you enjoy with your family!
    • Sc'd And Non Sc'd, How Do They Effect Benefit Rating.
      Non Service Connected ratings do not effect Service Connected ratings in any way.The purpose of Non Service Connected ratings is two-fold. 1. The VA acknowledges that you have a disability, but it is not related to your military service. The benefit of this is if at a later date you can prove it is from your military service then you would be compensated all the back to the date they acknowledged the disability. In order to do this you would need your service treatment records and show where the issue was reported during service or that it is a presumptive condition of your service. Not very likely. 2. Non Service Connected disabilities can help you if you ever need to apply for pension benefits. Keep in mind the income limitations for pension are so low you do not want to be in that position.
    • Intent to file
      I'm not sure I understand what you are asking as you stated " 3 claims that I made days prior to my original claim is in intent to file status". The 3 claims that you made prior to your original claim are the original claim, or maybe I misunderstand your question. Nevertheless, here is how the claims process works. But first, know that each Veteran only gets one "original claim", all subsequent claims are just that, subsequent claims. So, the first claim you submit is the original claim. If submitted on an EZ form it is a Fully Developed Claim (FDC), assuming all med evidence and secondary forms were submitted at the same time. The second claim you filed automatically removed your claims from FDC. No big deal, it will just take a little extra time to process your claim. If the second claim is submitted while the original claim is still open it is added to your original claim, but has a different contention date.  An example might clarify things a bit. Suppose I submit an original claim for left knee on January 1. Then on January 10 I submit another claim for right elbow. On February 11, I submit a third claim and the original claim is still open. The VA will add the January 10 claim to the original claim with a contention of January 10, and the February 11 claim is also added to the original claim with a contention date of February 11. Assuming all three claims are granted you would have qualifying disabilities with effective dates of January 1, January 10, and February 11. The January 1 and January 10 disabilities would be payable from February 1, and the February 11 disability would be payable from March 1. *NOTE: If you got out of the service within one year of filing your claim then every disability would have a qualifying disability date from your first day of return to civilian life. Here is where the claims process can get muddied. Suppose your original claim filed January 1 was for lower back pain, and your February 11 claim was for pain radiating down the left leg. The VA may have already scheduled an exam for the lower back pain from January 1, but now they have to recall the med exam to insert what is probably a secondary issue of pain radiating down the left leg caused by the problem in your back. This slows down the process, or might result in you having to report for an additional exam. To answer the last part of your question of why the second claim(s) have not been added to the original claim. There are several possibilities, but the most likely is this. When the VA processed your original claim they reviewed your evidence and probably submitted the claim for medical evaluation and automatically placed a thirty to sixty day suspense date on it. This means they will not look at your claim again until that time has passed. When they do look at your claim again, they will see the other claims submitted and determine what steps to take next. Do they need to recall the previous med exams, issue new med exams, or grant or deny outright due to evidence on file or in your service treatment records.  It is at this point they will change the new intent to file issues to the appropriate status. All in all, it is best to get all your ducks in a row and submit everything at one time, but that isn't always possible. You haven't done anything wrong, it just might take a little extra time to sort it all out. 
      You need to order your Cfile, and review your records.  Does your entrance exam show a history of alcohol abuse?  Also read your C and P exams.  The decision states the examiner stated your shoulder issue was less likely than not related to service.  This means you have not got a nexus.  If, indeed, your c and p exam says this, then you will need to fix this to get SC, probably by an IME/IMO.   You need to check your records to see if the statments they made are consistent with the medical records/cfile.  If not, its possible either the VA did not read your evidence, they shredded some, or they used another Vets medical records (yes, it happens).     You posted (from your decision) : "You submitted a lay statement to Support your claim. A credible lay statement may establish what was seen, heard, and directly experienced. The lay evidence was found not to be competent and sufficient in this case to establish a diagnosis of your condition or to show that a diagnosis had been made by a medical professional. You submitted a lay statement to support your claim. A credible lay statement may establish what was seen, heard, and directly experienced. The lay evidence was found not to be competent or credible evidence of the symptoms of your claimed condition. Although, some evidence supports your claim, we found other medical evidence more persuasive because it is supported by an accurate account of the medical history and/or it is the most detailed and reliable depiction of your medical condition. While some evidence supports your claim, we found other medical evidence more persuasive because it is supported by your relevant military And/or personal history. The VA medical opinion found no link between your diagnosed medical condition and military service.  You submitted lay evidence that your claimed disability is..."   The underlined portion is not a valid reasons and bases.  They must be specific as to what medical evidence conflicted your lay statements.  They need to say something like, "The Veteran reported xx, but Dr. C on 4-14-2010 stated this was yy, and that xx was incorrect".   You probably need to file a NOD, after reviewing your cfile, before, if it does not arrive within  a year.    
    • Memorial Day Vets Freebies, discounts
      Add yours to the list if you have one: Memorial Day is May 30. It's a time set aside to honor those who lost their lives in the service of their country. It's also become a time for people to thank active duty military personnel and veterans for their service to America. Some stores, restaurants and attractions offer freebies, deals and discounts for both current and former military personnel. It's always good to check with individual merchants to ensure their participation and make sure you have military identification. Here are some of the best Memorial Day offers: Restaurants Applebee's: Up to 10 percent off with valid military ID. Cinnabon: Save 15 percent at participating locations daily with your military ID. Dunkin' Donuts: Take 10 percent off all online orders every day with your Veterans Advantage membership. Hooters: Present military ID at Hooters on Memorial Day and for a free burger, buffalo chicken salad, or 10-piece wings. Lone Star Steakhouse: 20 percent off on Mondays, and 10 percent all other days of the week with valid military ID. McCallister's Deli: Free meal to all active duty military. Includes complimentary entrée, drink and dessert on May 30. McCormick & Schmick's: Active-duty military and veterans can get a free entrée for dinner or lunch on Monday, May 30. The options include buttermilk fried shrimp, parmesan crusted chicken, beef medallions, or beer battered fish and chips. Outback Steakhouse: 10 percent off with valid military ID. Red Robin: Free appetizer with any $10 purchase all weekend. You have to be a Red Robin Royalty member to qualify and can sign up here. Shoney's: One All-American Burger with fries is available to each guest with military ID on Memorial Day. Texas Roadhouse: Receive up to 30 percent off depending on location with valid military ID. Attractions Museums: More than 2,000 museums around the country offer free admission to active-duty military and their families from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. You can find participating museums here. National Park Service: Current U.S. military members, dependents of deployed members of the armed forces and most Reservists and National Guard members can get a free annual pass year-round with military ID. Walt Disney World Resort: Four days military promotional tickets with park hopper option is $196 plus tax. Purchase through Dec. 16 for use now through Dec. 19. Zoos: Many zoos, including the Birmingham Zoo, offers free admission for all active duty and retired military and their dependents on May 28 from 9 a.m.-May 30 at 5 p.m. Other Lowe's  Year round 10% Discount for Active Duty, Disabled Vets, retired.     General motors: Active duty, reservists, retirees, veterans and their spouses can receive the General Motors military discount on Chevrolet, Buick, and GMC vehicles through May 31. Hyundai: Hyundai is doubling its usual $500 military discount for active, retired or veteran military members and their spouses for all eligible 2015, 2016 and 2017 model-year new Hyundai vehicles. Lowe's: A 10 percent military discount to active duty military members and retired veterans, or VA recipients. Valid military ID required. Nike: Save 10 percent at and U.S. Nike retail stores throughout the year as an active duty, retired or reserve member of the armed forces. Under Armour: Veterans and active duty service members receive 15 percent off with valid UA Troop ID from May 24 to May 31. You can find out more here.
    • Increase Upgrade rather then DRO or Re open
      Your Award has to pass the 1 year mark, without a NOD filing, to become final. I was in the same situation back in 07/14. Secondary 04/14 FDC Awarded @ 0%. At that time, I had just been Awarded IU at a 06/28/14 DRO Hearing, from a 2010 NOD. Sure didn't want to wait another 3 to 4 yrs for a DRO Decision. Filed a New Secondary FDC 01/15, exactly the same as the 04/14 FDC. C & P took place 04/15 (real Negative VA Dr), 07/15 Decision letter, same Secondary SC @ 0%. I was getting ready to get back on the NOD Train 12/15, just hadn't mailed it in yet. Went on E-Ben 01/03/16 to get a copy of my IU Award for MI Property Tax Exemption. Low and behold, the VA Quality Control Phantom Rater, had taken me from 90% IU to 100% Scheduler with SMC S (1), in mid December. I have no idea of how long the Quality Control Rater had my 07/15 Decision. Had I jumped back on the NOD Train right away, would that have stopped his review and subsequent Award, I don't know. Semper Fi
      The decision states: "Because we were able to identify a marker in your service treatment reports you were scheduled for a VA compensation examination which was conducted in July 2015.  The examiner diagnosed major depressive disorder and other specified anxiety disorder.  The examiner indicated it is at least as likely as not the" stressor occurred. However the examiner indicated The series of experiences you found to be distressing, you reported antagonistic harassment by superiors related to alcohol rehabilitation contributed to his distress." That, in my opinion ,is not a stressor. We have a topic here I did on what is and isn't a stressor available under a search.  Although combat is not the only prerequisite for a stressor, this does not come close to a non combat stressor. Others might disagree with me and chime in here.    
    • Should I file a claim now or wait?
      Sax, your NEW claim has no bearing or affect on the Issues being Appealed to the BVA. I don't recall you mentioning that you actually started a New claim on your E-Ben site. You know, right, just starting the Claim on E-Ben, establishes your Retro Date? Filing as an FDC, is the way to go. My experience has been very positive with filing FDCs, as soon as the New DX Condition is in my VMC Medical Record. Some would caution, that Filing New Claims would slow down your other older claims or appeals. I filed (2) Secondary FDCs 02 & 04/14, 4 yr old DRO Hearing request was held 06/29/14. Both FDCs (1 Denial, 1 Awarded) were done by 07/14.  Semper Fi  
    • Exams during flare up?
      Oh okay, very good info. Seems similar to the one I had as well. Crossing my fingers for an increase. 
    • DRO hearing
      Rpowell, I would hold off on this until John Dorle sees it.     I think that is the John D you mean. Maybe Dr Bash or even John Dorle could provide an Addendum solely supporting the P & T Issue. I do not see a CUE here. And I do not feel you should drop those pending issues if any of them could possibly cause or contribute to your death. P & T is a medical determination, and like all of the other disability ratings, it requires a C & P exam unless they have significant evidence already, as you said they do in the opinion from Dr. Bash. Even if this involves a new IMO ( Dr Bash might want them to do a new C & P so that his IMO can attack that word for word) it would be well worth the investment  (his fee) in my opinion because the benefits of 100% P & T to your dependents and even with impact on your property tax, depending on where you live, all of that would be worth an IMO specifically for the P & T.        

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ping jockey

Voc-Rehab "education Plan?"

19 posts in this topic


Been a while since I've posted, and I spent a few hours trying to find the answers to my quesitions tonight.

I do want to extend my thanks to T-bird, Berta, and all the Elders who support this site. Because of you I'm now rated 60% instead of 10%. :biggrin:

Currently, I'm trudging the road toward Voc Rehab approval, and here is the situ.

I finish my Accounting Degree in 8 months.

I applied for VR in Nov to get my masters degree.

Getting a CPA license now requires 150 college credits.

The masters program starts Spring 2012; Fall 2011 in not realistic.

Met with counselor.

Dr. Cleared me for training.

VRC told me to gather ALL the education info for getting a CPA license.

I submitted it, and he's asking for an "Education Plan".

I have to finish my Accounting Degree before getting into the Master Program.

Counselor, says my application can't stay in "one" status to long, and he is asking my permission to "disconnect my claim".

1. What is an "Education Plan"?

2. Should I disconnect my claim, and reapply in 2/3 months?

3. Should I keep it active, and move forward?

4. Is keeping an application in "one status" a real issue for the VRC, and/or me?

5. What's the big deal on time? It's takes a lot of time, and work to prep for Grad School anyway.

6. HOW do I keep this alive, and moving forward?

Again, thank you all for your dedication to helping Vets.

I had many dark nights at sea, and for 5 years after discharge.

Discovering Hadit was like seeing the crack of dawn, and experiencing the calm after a Typhoon in the South Pacific.

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I think he means by an Education plan, what yor future goals are as to what the education will mean to you in terms of employment.

Actually it sounds like you have already presented this to him.

"Counselor, says my application can't stay in "one" status to long, and he is asking my permission to "disconnect my claim".

I suggest that you if go to the VA web site and access all of the Voc Rehab info there as I don't think he can support a 'disconnect' with any regulation.

I am a Chapter 35er (DEA)

My Education plan on the app was one sentence.But DEA is different from Voc Rehab.

I told them my Certification was to be sent to the American Military University as, since I was civilian and veteran advocate, I needed to learn warfare tactics and battlefield command as the VA claims process was a paper battlefield.

But in your case -I think the advise you got is questionable.

Sometimes I had to wait out periods of semester time in order to get the next course I needed to take.I did have a delimiting date and it ran out but my award last year has extended it.

In that respect you are presenting a logical reason:

"The masters program starts Spring 2012; Fall 2011 in not realistic."

Do you have a VA counselor at the college?

They as well as the Voc Rehab info at VA main web site might be able to help you here.

Is there anything in your Voc Rehab documents as to any delimiting date?

My husband was Voc Rehab and I dont recall any specific time frame they gave him at all but I could be wrong.

I commend you! College is HARD work!

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Gee there IS an eligibility limiting date:

However it can be extended as the info states.

Maybe your Voc Rehab guy is concerned over the date limits.

You are now 60% SC however and that alone should possibly warrant an extention of the limiting dates as I understand this VA info on Voc Rehab.

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My Counselors response!!

Any suggestioins??


I am basing my recommendations on your previous email dated 1/15/11.

If you have everything in place and you are ready to go this Spring 2011, I don't see any issue supporting your training at CSUEB.

I receved the clearance from your medical provider allowing you to participate in rehab training.

My understanding is that you have to complete CSUEB requirements, e.g., GMAT, etc prior you entering their programs.

My concern is, your case can only stay in one status for a limited period of time and cannot stay in one status until Fall 2011.

But if you are ready to participate this SP 2011, please provide me with information relevant to your training, specifically, an educational plan from CSUEB.

Please advise.

Thank you.

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If I were you I would read over 38 CFR Chapter 31. Maybe he is right about the status and lmits on time period.

You will get,at ths site, a pop from a Military lawyer and can ask him/her your question too.

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when your counselor asked for a educational plan from csueb. I believe she meant a degree plan. Thats what my counselor wanted and this link goes to what I gave her and she was satisfied with educational plan

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when your counselor asked for a educational plan from csueb. I believe she meant a degree plan. Thats what my counselor wanted and this link goes to what I gave her and she was satisfied with educational plan

Hello, T-Bird, Berta, All,

Thanks Chucknewcomb. After running around for a few weeks, I finally got the "Ed Plan", and as you all said; it was the simple Ed Plan sheet's the School uses to develop a plan.

I submitted it to my VRC, and he shot back an email with an OBVIOUS assumption that most people would regard as an attempt to "scuttle" the case. My relatioinship with my VRC is fair, but he's looking for a way out, AND I AM NOT GOING AWAY.

What I'd like to know is how to gracefully request a new Counselor. I'm about to get approved for the program, and once I do I'd like to have a new VRC for the duration. I don't trust this guy, and I need all the help the program has to offer: training, health, submsitance etc.

Any sage words of wisdom would be appreciated.

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sorry you are having problems with your counselor I must be one of the lucky ones to get a good one first time I wish you could have the same one as I have but the bad news is she is gonna retire half way through my schooling

make sure they get you a new computer for school

they will give you forms for reimbursement of stuff like printer cartridges, internet service

i get 35 a semester added to my school acct for supplies

just wish i could get transportation covered its 50 miles one way

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My advise is if you want to change anything not on your degree plan to talk to your voc rehab councilor. They are very anal about any changes even when it only an elective

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Your right - DON'T GO AWAY!!! Be strong, dont give up keep trying. I am in Voc Rehab and I now have a great cousleor who has whole heartedly helped me, gotten me extras and truly wants me to succeed.

I have also had terrible counselors, never helped, rude, cold, bitchy but I requested 3 times over many weeks and then FINALLY got a new great counselor! You have to just keep trying, you may have to submit things (ie new counselor request) 2,3,4 times before you get what you want and MAY have to include their managers or go higher if that dosent work. I am proof of that,YOU CAN DO IT- Yeah it's not easy, can suck at times, an make you stress out but with support on here or family, wife,friend,dog whatever keep trying my brother veteran. And good luck.

YES -earlier post said Voc Rehab can get you a laptop and even a printer- you need to speak to a school counselor and have them simly type a letter saying you need a laptop because your SC issues make it hard to use the on campus Compuer lab- it allows you to do your work on your laptop at home wher YOU will be more COMFORTABLE. But make sure you smile to that school counselor/advisor when asking for it, they may feel uncomfortable with writing it as many have never seen this before.

Good luck mi amigo!

PS:you will be less stressed in changing counselors as well so you can focus better on your studies and complating education - put this in ur letter! Make ur letter about this being a necessary positive change but do so being logical, respectful, no foul language but demanding- you are a disabled veteran and have earned these rights, your served, put yourself to protect your country and now you need her to help you succeed!

Edited by Aquabear

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I am a great example of the eligibility dates on this. I was SC'd back in 1997 but I still am qualified for Vocational Rehab qualifying limit of 12 years. Two reasons; first my SC'd is aggravated by my current position. Here is the story. In 1990 I was certified as a Florida Corrections Officer. It was in 1994 I was discharged for my injuries from active duty. Well I went back into Corrections at that point. In 2002 I took some classes in Information Systems and in 2003 I obtain a nice career change in IT. Well, in 2009 that position was eliminated so I had not choice but to go back in Corrections (believe me that was the last thing I wanted to do because I knew what would happen). Well it is 2011 and because of my current position aggravating my SCd condition the VA Counselor told me they had a Legal Obligation to approve me for Vocational Rehab.

As for disconnecting your claim, you can disconnect it anytime and then activate it again. Once you are approved you are approved from what my counselor stated.

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I think that the 12 years runs from when you get service connected.

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I think that the 12 years runs from when you get service connected.

there is exceptions to that 12 year rule while you may have lost your gi bill the eligibility for voc rehab can be extended

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Veterans are eligible if they:

  • Have received, or will receive, a discharge that is other than dishonorable
  • Have a service-connected disability rating of at least 10%, or a memorandum rating of 20% or more from the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA)
  • Apply for Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) VetSuccess services

    Basic period of Eligibility

    The basic period of eligibility in which VR&E VetSuccess services may be used is 12 years from the latter of the following:

    • Date of separation from active military service, or
    • Date the veteran was first notified by VA of a service-connected disability rating.

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Vets, Families, and Friends,

Thanks for your inputs; it's been helpful.

Hopefully this paves a new path for Vets/Families in my wake.

For those discovering this later here's a summary of my experience:

SC at 0% in 1995 upon discharge, and increased to 10% 2002.

2009 applied for Voc-Rehab (Chap 31) at 10% SC........."Deee-NIED" immediately.

2009, found resource, and bumped into old retired Shipmate (Chief) who was now a DAV rep....God send.

He's explained how the process and rating system works in General.

My "POA" (Power of Attorney) was with the VA.....HELLLLOOOO....wrong place for that kind of authority.

Late 2009, transferred my POA to DAV Rep, submitted claims according to his instructions.

September 2010, 9 mos later SC increased to 60% for a condition characterized as "SECONDARY TO A PRIMARY CONDITION".

A SECONDARY TO condition is for "OTHER" bodily systems that are effected by a primary condition.....THIS IS IMPORTANT!!

Reapplied for Voc-Rehab in 2010; as I was about to finish my Accounting Degree. Need 150 College Units now to get a CPA license.

VRC (Voc-Rehab Counselor) had no problems approving me, BUT wanted to CLOSE IT because I wasn't about to START training in 90 days or so.

The University folks were not helpful at first; the Master's Degree Office said "we never heard of an Eduction Plan".

I ran around the University for a month (delay worked to my advantage) trying to find the department that will create an Eduction Plan.

Befriend an English Exchange Student in the Master Degree Office; AND low and behold they HAD examples; JUST like everyone said on HADIT.

I have an appointment May 12, to finalize my Education Plan.

Current Status and issue?????:

I've compiled an Education Plan, sent it to my VRC, and have an appointment May 12, 2011.

The School requires I take the GMAT, and a review course in both Statistics, and College Algebra.

Fulfilling these requirements definitely puts me past the 23 month, and 21 days of Chap 31 Benefits remaining.

There is an alternative (and better program) school that would waive these requirement based on my experience, and 3.76 GPA.

The benefits of this alternative plan are as follows:

I can complete school in 12-18 months instead of 24-30 months (I ONLY have 23 months of benefits left).

I can get back to work SOONER, and the commuting arrangement saves me cost.

Most importantly the commute arrangement accommodates less stress, by permitting me to study or cat nap on the hour long Ferry ride.

What's most important to me is getting started sooner, finishing sooner, and the commute, study, and stress arrangement.


Should I bring this "ALTERNATIVE PLAN" to my VRC attention before my May 12 appointment?

Should I just compile all the information, and then meet with him to discuss it?

I don't want to derail what I have in the pipeline, and need to gracefully steer this in the other direction.

My thoughts are to notify him immediately so he doesn't do a bunch of work on a plan that is "SECONDARY".

As always, with gratitude to my fellow Vets, and the families who support our troops.

Edited by ping jockey

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I would just gather all the information you need that is stated on Va Form 28-8606. My Counselor stated that she has to write out the plan. I took everything to her yesterday and it was approved. Today she emailed me all the contracts I had to signed and I scanned them and sent them back. Now I await for May 2. If the school gets the voucher in time I will start May 2, if not then I will have to wait until July 5. I have trust in my counselor because I found out if you work with them they will bust their butts for you, well mine has so far. Hope it works out for you...

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FINALS WEEK help me from pulling my hair out

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I know this response may be late. But I am a CPA. Please inbox me with any questions.

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The last post on this subject was 2011. Bring us up to date, Kimmy.

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