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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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    • Full Knee Replacement
      First, if you  have newer x-rays from outside the VA, get them and the reports into your VA med file. The distance from the VA hospital initially is not as important as the distance to a local VA outpatient clinic. But, once you convince the clinic PCP then outside care (consult in VA speak) can be authorized, since the VAMC is farther away than 40 miles. 
    • Dro Review Processing Time
      I sent in an NOD requesting DRO review about two months ago.  Nothing appeared on ebenefits so I sent an ISIS message.   Took them 2 weeks to reply  (ignore their note that days reply would be sent in 5 workdays)   Return meggage said NOD was received but ebenefits is a little behind   Message said a letter was sent to me asking if I wanted DRO review.  Msg said ignore letter because I already asked for DRO in NOD. Here's  the killer.  Average time for DRO review    631 days
    • Code Sheet
      After reading my code sheet I saw I have one of those. I'm rated on my ankle as 5020-5271. It's also static.  To me the code sheet eases the Veterans MNF. I know what my codes are and I know that my contentions are either static or non-static.  This shoulf not be a secret to is at it is vital information. Nor should this be a huge issue to get. 
    • Auto Adaptive Reimbursement
      I'd try to get something in writing concerning changes/refusals, than, "run the flag up the pole" any way that I thought would help. Automatic transmissions are more or less standard these days, so I'd not be surprised about that.  Bureaucratic screw ups in budgets are not a valid reason for failing to provide benefits required by title 38. Looking at things from a different perspective, some vehicle options are often listed as options,even though they are really "standard". A/C and automatic transmissions are just two. Another possible go-around is that different trim levels of the same vehicle have different options as "standard". You could possibly buy a base version, and add options at extra cost, or an up trim version with the "options" already included as "standard". It may be that the VA is looking at what the "normal" buyer options are, and trying to avoid paying for them.  
    • CUE? Not using SMR?
      Yes, if they notice the CUE they can adjust on their own.  I just had the EED adjusted on my initial claims for asthma and left ankle, the rater looked at my entire record while processing my unadjudicated claim for diabetes.  He immediately file a cue and adjusted the EED.  I didn't have to do anything for the EED/CUE. However, my ED was actually a CU they started them in 98 vs. 97.  
    • C&P Exam Results, WTH is going on, Please Help!!!
      Agree with killemall. You got this Navy04, we can't wait for you to come back here and say DONE!    
    • Code Sheet
      Thanks Asknod My problem is finding out the code for the disability.?? PTSD Code has it at 9411&9435 Code for Unspecific Depresssive Disorder VA Notes from  PCP  has PTSD  As : SCT47505003  My Sleep Apnea Notes has the code as SCT 73430006, Some of these I get confused with Insurance Codes  for Insurance Purposes. Jbasser & Jerrel Cook had a blog talk radio show on these rating codes Last year some times Maybe I'll recheck the Archives Shows. I tried to look up the code for OSA but never found it. just the SCT #73430006..?  And I have a Boo-Coo List of NSC disability's/contentions.  with the SCT# at the end of them
    • Auto Adaptive Reimbursement
      Update. My friend talked to the head of prosthetics in Tucson(kristine) and she informed him that the VA will not cover some items like power options,automatic transmissions and a few others.(I can't remember the list of things he told me).These were all covered by the VA previously.
    • NOD / DRO or TARP?
      All, Thank you for the response's. Due to me posting all of my documents intermittently, there seems to be some confusion with the timeline and issues. I will attempt to run thru this chronologically and repost all documents including my 2015 decision which I had not previously posted and answer all questions. March 2009- Filed original Claim for the following issues and received results October 2009 (see 2009 - Rating Sheet below) I do not have the entire decision packet: TBI - 10 % SC Residuals, gallbladder removal - 0% SC Back Condition - declined SC Psoriasis - declined SC PTSD - declined SC / Stressor conceded as combat action badge. October 2010 - Filed NOD / DRO for PTSD March - 2011 - Appeal decision received. I never stated that PTSD was due to MST. The paragraph on page 2 of 2011Appeal decision below is just the last part of 10 pages that I cut out covering rules and US code that they sent in the letter. The actual decision starts at the bottom of that page. Results: PTSD declined - I did not submit any new evidence. Diagnosed as "adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood". Blamed on me worrying about my husband returning to Iraq, even though he had just returned??? October 2014  - Initiated following claims: (I had transferred to the North Texas VA and had finally began receiving treatment after being fed up with OKC VA. I live in southern Oklahoma, so its a drive for me to go to either one) PTSD - Re-open Claim. TBI - Request for increase. May 2015 -  I reported for C&P exams at the Dallas VA clinic for PTSD and TBI. I'm not sure if this is relevant, but I received a call while my husband and I were driving there stating that the TBI examiner had to leave early and they would have to re-schedule that exam. I protested because it is a 3 hour drive. They called me back 10 minutes later stating that he would conduct the exam. He seemed pissed the whole time. His notes stated that No TBI residuals were present.  This is also the exam where the PTSD screener stated "However, it should be pointed out that most of the symptoms the veteran described during today's MH examination certainly those common to a PTSD diagnosis- she also described during her 7/8/09 Initial PTSD examination, in Oklahoma City, three years PRIOR to her son's illness."  ( see 2015 C&P exam notes below) June 2015 - Latest decision received. Results (see 2015 - decision part 1 &2 below): TBI - Decreased to 0% SC PTSD - 50% SC May 2016 - Wondering what my best next COA should be? Would like to get PTSD effective date back to 2009 and get TBI increased to at least percentage it was before. I have about 50 days to file my NOD. Q&A: Berta: What did the C & P doc diagnose you with? 2009 - TBI (SC) and adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood (not SC) 2015 - No TBI residuals and PTSD w/ major depressive disorder.   Berta: Have you googled the doctor who did the C & P? I do not know the Doctor's name from 2009. But I have found several articles referring to a Dr. Gail Poyner who was conducting PTSD exams at OKC VA at the time. She was fired from the VA in 2010 for applying test to Veterans to see if they were malingering or faking. Her research paper can be found here: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12207-010-9076-x?LI=true I would like to have my C-File to see if she conducted the evaluation.   Gastone: What did you claim as the PTSD Stressors in your 09 app for PTSD? Combat Action Badge   Gastone: The 1st Denial, discussed "No Evidence of Personal Assault," MST? No MST ever claimed. The paragraph that covers PTSD due to MST was just the last paragraph of 10 pages of regulations that they sent with the decision. Actual decision starts at the bottom of that page.   Gastone: Did you know anything about the DRO Process Requirement, for the N & M Evidence? I did. My fault I didn't send any. I was fed up with OKC VA and assumed they would send me for a new C&P exam. Stupid on my part.   Gastone: Did you ever get a copy of your 09 PTSD C & P DBQ? No, I did not. Blue button records do not go back that far. I have requested a copy of my C-File. EBenefits states that I will get it between NOV 2017 and NOV 2018.   Gastone:  Do you currently have a VA MH Psychiatrist/Psychologist that treats you on a regular basis? I was being seen at Bohnam, TX VA. After they kept switching Dr's a few times, I now just get my meds re-filled thru my family physician. My husband is active duty, so we are on tri-care prime remote. I also qualify for VA choice, but have not used it.   Gastone: Have they given you an official PTSD DX? I have a PTSD diagnosis and receive 50% SC in 2015.   Berta: Did they have the incident reports? I faxed in two incident reports. They do not show on the evidence list, but stressor was conceded with CAB.   Flores97: Email congressman for C-File. Thank You for the advice. I emailed my congressman today and reiterated the time crunch I am under.     2011 - Appeal decision.pdf 2015 - C&P exam Notes.pdf 2015 - decision part 1.pdf 2015 - decision part 2.pdf 2009 - Rating Sheet.pdf
    • Full Knee Replacement
      I just came back from the Ortho doctor in town he said I need a full knee replacement for my service connected injury after looking at past 11 years of x-rays from the VA and what he just took today. The Marine Corps. somehow don't keep x-rays after a certain period of time. The VA says they will not do one until I'm 60 years old, all they wanted to do was give me injections for the pain. What I have now is a Torn ACL and I'm running bone on bone, and my knee cap is just about gone so here is the question. I already receive 20% for my left knee, due to the past 3 surgery's. So after having the knee replacement what will I be looking at? for an increase? Does the VA have to pay for this since I live 178 miles from the Nearest VA hospital? because they are still telling me if you were injured on active duty you must go to the VA hospital even through the VA says They will not do a knee replacement until I'm 60? I already talked to two Veterans in town at the Vet center and they had the same problem but they paid for it out of their own pocket for the surgery then filed for an increase award. So far they are still waiting for the VA to answer them back. any ideals on the best route to take? I hate to get this done out in a local hospital then fine out the VA will not pay and give me an increase for the full knee replacement. Thank for any information on this subject.

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deanbrt

Foia Request

20 posts in this topic

I am so mad right now I can barely write this. Aug. 17 of last year I submitted a request for copies of information in my C file of information from April to that point to my VARO. At that time, I had a remanded appeal from August 2010 and IU claim from early 2011 there. It became apparent they were treating the request like a claim and I became concerned there were holding off the decision process for it. On Nov. 22 and Dec. 12 (after I had seen the Aug. 17 FOIA request still showing as a claim) to two separate fax numbers at the VARO I faxed in letters rescinding any outstanding FOIA request I might have that would impede the decision process..

I started seeing on Ebenefits "noclaim information is available at this time" . At the end of December I was advised that a decision had been made (Dec. 20). Dec. 30 via phone from the VARO I was told it was in Authorization, then would go to my POA for review, then back to them and then I would be notiified. I have some thought what that might mean but we'll see.

Friday on EBenefits under Claims an FOIA request shows up for Jan. 5. I MADE NO SUCH REQUEST. I immediately faxed them that I had rescinded any FOIA fax request and made no request Jan. 5. I copied all of the previous faxes with it. I again rescinded any outstanding FOIA request

I am aware that a claim can hold up everything and very concerned this action is deliberate to do that. I received a letter in the mail from the VARO Saturday confirming the Jan. 5 FOIA request. I NEVER MADE THE REQUEST! Am I being paranoid?

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Is it possible that you have a common name and you and someone else w/the same name are being mixed up?? Just a thought.

pr

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No, my name is uncommon. I cannot help but feel it may be a malicious attempt to further delay. I made no such request Dec. 5. Quite the reverse. I had sent them an emphatic letter November 22 via fax rescinding any FOIA request on my behalf that might impede that I again reiterated via fax Dec. 12. I faxed a letter to the VARO manager yesterday requesting an explanation.

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One other question. Is an FOIA request always treated as a claim and delays everything until processed?

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Hello Deanbrt,

I am sorry for your delays at the VA, but do want to bring something up.

I do not believe that the VA will treat your FOIA as a claim and do the usual stalling techniques that all of us are aware of. The FOIA has not given you an oppurtunity to participate in an award of benefits thru the claims process. A FOIA is a specific request by law to search for and deliver any records that you were specific in your written FOIA request. All depts of government have a FOIA officer that will oversee the legal request that person has initiated. It appears what you asked the VA to do is to search for your written documents that should exist (unless shreddergate is still on).

The only problem I see with a FOIA request is that it may allow your file to be moved from whatever position and whatever state it is to search those records. I personally believe that while you are waiting in a decision mode of VA that everything should be left alone until after a decision to keep your position and file inorder so that the VARO decision teams/DRO can adjudicate it.

I have over 15 FOIAs to numerous agencies and only a couple of them produced records at all. It usually sent me on a wild goose chase and I never got to catch one and eat it for dinner. I mean Atomic Energy commission, US ARMY, US ARMY FORT DIETRICH, EPA, and so on ...... FOIAs to the VA are still a tool that can be used to force information to be released. However the person or dept giving the information out can still " miss" some evidence or "overlook" it.

Case in point. I FOIA the Atomic Energy Commission for anything , all documents pertaining to SM1A Nuclear Reactor, Fort Greely , Alaska. They replied back they have no documents or knowledge of an SM1A Nuclear reactor at Fort Greely....... HUH...... I personally assigned the quarters to the personnel that TDY from Atomic Energy Commission that had to work on the reactor while it decided to have a runaway resulting in its entombment while I was there in 1971-73. I have plenty of other dept . thankfully that I have all the information I need. Another case in point is I have FOIA for spraying records thru the National Records giving the form numbers.....they are posted in archives here at Hadit under AO and latest AO thread. No luck.

My point is though the law under FOIA says they are to turn over such request and must make all available efforts to comply, it still can fall thru the cracks and be "nonexistant". You are not the first to have FOIA problems and I do feel that eventually you will be able to receive what you have asked for, it may slow your decision process down. The VA can still move your file for anything that needs to be look at or pulled from the file and that is where the problems lie when the Veteran does anything during the process, that may make someone open it other than the decision officer. I am sorry for a lengthy post but we probably should do a FOIA topic as it is a tool that can be used . For me it has not worked as I wanted it too because of sensitive data which will keep any FOIA request underwraps....period. Hang in there and be patient. Get your decision so you can move to the next step and address any errors or discrepancies then. NEVER GIVE UP. God Bless, C.C.

Edited by Capt.Contaminate

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Capt. Contaminate. First, thanks for the detailed response. smile.png Here is how my claims section reads as of this evening in Ebenefits.

Open Claims

Date/Type of Claim Claim Status Updates 12/05/2011

Freedom of Information Act / Privacy Act Request Claim Received

As you can see, they are treating it as a claim. I never made any FOIA request on the above date. Again, I had one from Aug. 17 for copies from my c file from April to that date. I rescinded that request via fax to two separate numbers at my VARO on Nov 22 and then Dec. 12 after becoming concerned it might cause delay. This claim for Dec. 5 just appeared Friday. I immediately sent another fax to the VARO center manager with copies of all the documents again rescinding any FOIA request. But I am getting more skeptical by the minute. Why is it being treated like a claim, which can slow down or stop everything?. That is why I faxed them Nov. 22 and Dec.12 . Why does it just show up Friday and my IU claim has NEVER shown up on Ebenefits. I NEVER MADE THIS REQUEST......

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x

x

x

I made a FOIA request for a copy of my claims file Janruary 4, 2011. In September 2011, the RO sent me a Letter to say they were baglogged, working on it --and would get to it as soon as they were able. The Letter also stated "there is no need for you to contact us again regarding this request. I have since used the IRIS to check the Status: one time they said it would be forthcoming in 30 days, the next request they told me they did not get a response from my VARO. I have submitted my 3rd IRIS request for my C-File and waiiting ... A whole year, and still no answer. My RO was also very negilent about responding the the BVA Remand, so much time had passed that I withdrew my claim without penalty over a year ago, and they never responded to that either/ Starnge because other chanels seem to be working, like Chapter 35 benefits. I have no idea what's going on either!! ~Wings

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  • Hello All Hope All Is Well. I liked all of you have made request from OIG ,General Counsel, amendment of record to General Counsel.VISN . My Point is this they all have stated to address your concerns FEDERAL DISTRICT COURT. And I have assurred them to include Regional Counsel and General Counsel see you in Court Counseler. They are very much aware of there short and long commings but just another avenue to redirect or deter your effortts.

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Wings. think about it. One year to simply make a copy of your c file. My fear is that they made yours and mine a "claim" so they could delay work on anything else, like our appeal. I was told in December a claim has to be resolved before the appeal can process and that is my fear with this new FOIA "claim" that appeared on my Ebenefits Friday.

Mcafee, if I understand your posting correctly you are saying this is a known issue and recommending me contact the OIG. I have copied Steven Keller, Executive in Charge for BVA on all of the documentation as well as one of my senators over the past few months.I have requested from the service center manager Friday at the VARO an explanation of the Dec. 5 claim and if it appears to me it is falsified I will contact the OIG. I have the impression you may be someone in authority...

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A FOIA request is always given an end product/ EP/ claim number for tracking purposes to monitor thre " timeliness" and to make sure that the request is done. Yes your claim will be pulled from wherever it is at and be put with the multiple other FOIA requests. Best bet is to let the claim ride and then get a copy after the decision OR get a copy before you file. Otherwise, it is a crap shoot to Ask for your file whole you have a claim pending. Jmho

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"A FOIA request is always given an end product/ EP/ claim number for tracking purposes to monitor thre " timeliness" and to make sure that the request is done. Yes your claim will be pulled from wherever it is at and be put with the multiple other FOIA requests. Best bet is to let the claim ride and then get a copy after the decision OR get a copy before you file. Otherwise, it is a crap shoot to Ask for your file whole you have a claim pending. Jmho"

And that is why I cancelled my Aug 17 FOIA request Nov. 22 and Dec. 12 via faxes to two separate VARO fax numbers, only to see a "claim" for FOIA dated Dec. 5 appear Friday that I never requested.....

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Hello All,,,,,,, Ok ,,,,, I know what all other dept other than VA have done to me on FOIA request. I can accept the eneptness of the dept in question ,not giving me what I request. Got plenty of those " sorry we do not have" , "perhaps if you will check with"....blah, blah, blah..... letters.

With the VA if a Veteran is requesting Cfile and or information on a piece of evidence , I cannot follow how it can be deemed a claim as there is no diagnostic code assigned to it to formerly and legally make it a claim. It still may slow the process for the FOIA request but I cannot see in the regulations what makes it a claim and legally to be called one has to have a diagnostic code assigned to it.

Hopefully some of our other Veterans who have the answers will chime in. My gut call at the moment is that FOAI will not be a claim but assigned a formal request of record type search that has protocall and law as to how it is looked for and who looked and discovered the resultive evidence and material record as stated in the FOAI and in alot of cases............. what was not discovered from the resultive evidence and material record. Ok...... Maybe we can get some more answers from others besides myself who have used the FOIA to gather important documents and records for our claims. NEVER GIVE UP. God Bless. C.C.

Edited by Capt.Contaminate

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I don't if or how this would apply here but, I requested my SMR's from the NPRC about a year ago. Now I have an appeal on a claim with the VA as well as another claim. I got my SMR's from NPRC and they also sent me a letter stating that the VA would send me what they had. About two months later I got the copies of my SMR's the VA had from them. I never received a letter stating that the request would be considered another claim. Also, the VA did not have all of my SMR's in their possession.

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Hello All Hope All Is Well. Ibelieve this may shed some light to LAW. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode05/usc_sec_05_00000552---a000-.html

(1) Civil Remedies.— Whenever any agency

(A) makes a determination under subsection (d)(3) of this section not to amend an individual’s record in accordance with his request, or fails to make such review in conformity with that subsection;

(B) refuses to comply with an individual request under subsection (d)(1) of this section;

<a name="g_1_C">© fails to maintain any record concerning any individual with such accuracy, relevance, timeliness, and completeness as is necessary to assure fairness in any determination relating to the qualifications, character, rights, or opportunities of, or benefits to the individual that may be made on the basis of such record, and consequently a determination is made which is adverse to the individual; or

(D) fails to comply with any other provision of this section, or any rule promulgated thereunder, in such a way as to have an adverse effect on an individual,

the individual may bring a civil action against the agency, and the district courts of the United States shall have jurisdiction in the matters under the provisions of this subsection.

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My next step would be to report it to OIG.....

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Deanbirt, I may be in the same situation you are in. Only time will tell. I submitted a written request to view my C-file back in July 2011 at the Atlanta RO. After waiting 3 months and receiving no reply I called the VA 1-800 number as was told they would check on it. About two weeks later I received a letter from the Atlanta VARO advising I would be scheduled for an appointment to view my file within the near future. I have not heard anymore about my appointment since that time.

In late October 2011 I submitted a new disability claim to the Atlanta VARO and followed up with all of my evidence in November 2011. I received a letter from the VARO acknowleging receipt of my claim but I have not received the duty to assist letter or any other documents. After reading Captain Contaminate's reply to you I am now worried that my earlier request to view my c-file may be causing a delay in the processing of my new disability claim. I am thinking about advising the VARO to disregard my request to view my C-file at this time and to process my new claim without delay. I will be following the replies you receive and your progress with the VA. I wish you well.

Georgiapapa

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Georgoapapa. I faxed requests to two separate fax numbers at my VARO Nov. 22 and then Dec. 12, when I saw again my Aug. 17 c file request still listed as a claim, cancelling any outstanding requests they regarded as FOIA. For weeks then it read "claim information is not available as this time" and then Friday a new FOIA "claim" shows up with a Dec . 5 received date. I never submitted anything other than the Aug. 17 request. I was told by a VARO employee in December any new claim would hold up processing on my IU claim and appeal.

I am very concerned at how this has happened and think Mcafee's English may be a lot better than he lets on and that he may be trying to tell us something. If you have not been using Ebenefits try getting on right away to see if your FOIA request shows up as a claim.

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I had, Return Receipt Requested, requested my "C" file from PGH VARO on

Dec. 15, 2011. I received a post card from the FOIA Officer on Dec 30th, 2011

that they would forward the file as soon as they could. I had already had all

my claims decided prior to this request. I too thought requesting the C File while

claims where in process would slow up my claims process. I would also agree

with Capt C's view it would not be considered a formal claim, otherwise I would

have received a VCAA letter instead of a postcard. Hope this helps.

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Harv, I received a formal letter Saturday. : (

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