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What Specifically Is A Service Record

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Where the rules say that any service records that are not in the claim file are later discovered / submitted -- they will be considered to have been IN the claim file at the date of the decision.

So I am basically getting that if the VA was supposed to get records from the military and did not get them - if they get them later -- and you are filing a CUE, or accrued benefits claim -- where it is important to establish that those records WERE in the claim file previously -- the decision must be made AS IF they WERE in the claim file on that date, even if they were not.

Now I know the VA tends to act like SMR are the ONLY records that matter. But if the rule is Service Records - would this also apply to OTHER records on the veteran (military records) and other records obtained from the military (like asbestos reports, programs in place, etc.)If the VA had been put on notice that such records exist -- if such records are NOT in the claim file - but later added - can they be considered a Service Record which is presumed to have been IN the claim file at an earlier date?


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Service records do extend beyond just service medical records. They basically are any records maintained by the service department (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, etc.) and could also be what are most also referred to as service personnel records. These could be deployment or TDY orders (such as the case with a veteran going to Vietnam) or CID investigation reports (such as when a rape or sexual assault takes place in service) or even award orders showing the veteran received a Combat Action Ribbon (potentially pertinent in establishing service connection for PTSD or other disabilities attributable to combat).

These would not represent a CUE though since they were not of record in the claims folder at the time a decision was made. So in these cases the regulations allow for them to take corrective action based on the receipt or obtaining service records later on down the road.

Edited by theotherguy (see edit history)
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  • HadIt.com Elder

Yeah, what that other guy just said. ;)

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A further example is when I was filing my own claim in 2002, I filed for IVDS. It was denied because I had not proven that I was incapacitated for enough time.... I realized that all my convalescent leave records were in my 201 file, and just barely mentioned in my medical record. I pulled and copied them, resubmitted as a NOD with new and material evidence and got the IVDS rating I was looking for.

Further, performance evaluation, Article 15's, Captains Mast records can all be helpful in certain claims if you are trying to prove a PATTERN of miscondunduct associated with say PTSD, or some other mental disorder....

So, ALL military records are submittable as evidence. They can and do often make a great deal of difference....

Edited by sixthscents (see edit history)
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Bob--- GREAT advice-

The disciplinary action reports were the main thing that proved nexus for a vet friend of mine. (In service mental illness)

Also Personnel records can help support an inservice injury if the Duty was changed to light duty etc- due to the accident or injury.

I know a few former Corpmen-

even under combat scenarios they tried to document everything-

There is nothing better than having the actual SMRs-

I never depend on what VA says is in them or not in them.

Old SMRs- you might have to scan and keep blowing them up- even read them in a mirror- etc-and ask for others to see what they seem to say-

but it is well worth the time it takes to pour over them good.

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