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The Importance Of Getting Your "c" File

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OSC

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asknod responded to a post located here on hadit

This response made such a huge impact on me as to its importance; that I had to respond to it and start this thread:

asknod wrote:

You won because you took the time to learn the twisted system. Far too many come here and merely try to get others to do their footwork. Advice is one thing. Asking for a complete book of Cliff Notes is far more. No one is more invested in your claim, more knowledgeable than you about the actual facts, nor capable of bringing the proper legal arguments to the table. It took me 14 years to recognize my 1994 claim was actually still open in 2007 and not a "reopen". VA naturally fought me all the way to the CAVC arguing the opposite. Evidence is king. When they create a c-file, they inadvertently give you a Rand McNally roadmap of all their stupidity. You, of course, are tasked with the job of decyphering it and pointing out the errors. No VSO and few law dogs can find the "magic moment", let alone recognize its significance in your battle. I commend you for following Phil Roger's sage advice on the purchase of the VBM. That's exactly how I won. I went one better and "gifted" it to a young gal in Florida who won her 1975 CUE claim. Pay it forward. Now consider the next chapter--The Independent Living Program. A free computer is one of the obvious low-hanging fruits first off.

My response:

asknod…You sure hit the nail with that statement….And a homerun at that. When I finally received my “C” File it came in a box about 6 inches thick. I thought OMG I sure am going to have a good time here. (not). I took this huge mass of papers and put each piece of paper in its correct order and place. This took many nights, but Oh so worth the time.

After putting it all in order, I made a working copy of every section so I could make notes and still have the “clean” originals the VA sent me. Of course there were lots of holes in what was sent (of which I made note of) and some duplicates.

Then I went though each and every piece, looking for ANYTHING that might help my case, making notes with different colored pens as to what I considered relevant and the level of importance. And since I am a packrat, I also had some of my old SMRs from when I was in the Navy, which I used to fill in the holes, and also all of the VA denial letters (which also were in my “C” File). A yellow pad was used to keep track of ANYTHING, no matter how small that might help me win.

The VA had denied me, for Hypertension among other things, when I first submitted in 1992. Then during the C&P of January 2012, the doctor put down that the primary cause of some of my major contentions was Hypertension (BUT, I was not Service Connected). So, now I needed to figure out a way to Service Connect my Hypertension.

And then I found it….My MAGIC MOMENT. So in going through my SMRs from the “C” File, page by page and entry by entry, I found all of my Blood Pressure readings. I wrote then down as to date, time, reading and the reason for visiting the Sick Bay.

A C&P was conducted in April 2013 where I took all my findings from going through my “C” File including a list of where all of my Blood Pressure readings were located in my SMRs, for the doctor to look at. He could then compare and verify the readings from my list to his copy of my SMRs and then enter the information in the C&P report. The doctor DID IN FACT make the judgment that I had Hypertension while on Active Duty and thereby Service Connected me for benefits.

If I had not gotten my “C” file, I never would have gotten the ammo to fight the VA. Yes, asknod is correct when he says that the VA gave us all a map and it is up to us to use it for our claim.

OSC

Edited by OSC
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OSC,

Excellent information provided by Asknod and yourself. We are very fortunate to have people like Asknod on Hadit who are willing to share their knowledge and time to help other vets. Knowledge is power and the more knowledge we have of how the VA disability claims process really works, the better our chances are of beating the VA at their own game.

GP

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  • HadIt.com Elder

:smile:Oh the wonders of our C-File.

I agree Asknod is totally correct about the VA left us a Rand Road Map...we just have to decipherer it.

Asknod is one of the best veteran advocates there is in my opinion.

This is what I LOVE about hadit and When MsTird started it in 1997 for all of us to get on her raft.

The Knowledge here on Hadit that we all learn from can never be replaced or a put a price tag on!

All because of a wonderful nice caring lady Ms Tbird. its changed the world for many many veterans.

I am very Thankful for HADIT and I am glad to help support hadit with funds sent in every year.

..............Buck

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OSC & georgiapap:

Both excellent observations with the disability system challenges as it currently exists are right on~! At least for me with my FDC, I should be happier now since it was reported last week that the VBA rater signed off on it 7 weeks ago, but I'm not because of my C-File issues? Of course, I have no status yet, but I've heard from others that it can take up to 2 or 3 months to get a final answer on their claims once the signature is completed? One of the reasons that I'm so nervous is the issue of the C-File and the evidence that was supposed to be properly digitized under VBMS and made available to the VBA rater of my case? Without going further into most of the details, I submitted a FOIA to get a copy of my C-file and all of my claim actions came to a stretching halt? I later sent a letter and was invited to the RO to look at the C-file. When I arrived, they said, "no can do", the system is down now? Then the RO FOIA Officer came out from his cubicle and said he was working on it but it would be several months before he could get to it to me, and he lifted up one of his hands and showed me about 75 documents? Then I said, I sent over two binders with over 1,500 documents in total and he looked even more perplexed than ever--which then worried me? Anyway, before I submitted the two binders to the VSO, to go to the RO, I took a photo of them both on the VSO's desk - just in case, I needed to prove that I actually submitted that much SMRs? Anyway, very - unhappy, I asked to see a supervisor and then a nice VBA rep came and talked to me. He "assured" me that "everything" that I submitted would be in my C-file and not to be too concerned? Anyway, at that point, I had to make a decision, to either wait another 6-12 more months for the c-file and/or delay my claim an equal amount of time, or trust the VBA rep? Well, I chose the later to get my claim back on track with the information that I had to finish my claim? I also submitted a claim for hypertension as well with over 150 readings over 22 years, but after the CP exam, I was later told that the CP office lost all of my records and they could not be located by anyone? So, here I now sit waiting for the final claims answer but wondering if the proper evidence ever made it? So, yes...ensuring the C-File is correct is most important for anyone who wants a fair chance of getting a fair claim is critical. But be fore-warned that every RO is different when requesting a C-File and maybe now with VBMS starting to work, things may eventually get better? Either way, I suspect, I'll know something within the next 30 days or so?...Thanks...rootbeer22

Edited by rootbeer22
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Just for info, how long did it take to get your C-File? Mine arrived about 14 or so months after I hand delivered the FOIA Request to the Det VARO intake desk. I also requested an appointment to review the C-File before getting the copy. Never heard anything back from VA as far as the Review at the VARO.

When my 9in package finally arrived 01/14, no c-file Docs from late late 12 or 13 were included. Seems the VA used the date of the FOIA filing as the cut off date for C-File document production. All issues awarded at my 6/29/14 DRO Hearing so I didn't push it. Might just file another FOIA to see what they provide now, or not.

Semper Fi

Gastone

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Gastone:

Thanks, current plan is to get my final and first ever FDC claim in hand first - then file for FOIA again if I have to? As, I said, I was told last week by the VBA 1800 rep that my claim was completed 4/10/2015 and was fully signed off on 4/14/2015? I once believed that when a Vet got to that point that the claim would move pretty fast and one could see their percentages in ebenefits? But, I have a local Vet friend that says that he has always gotten his VA disability answers in the mail despite having a premium ebenefits account? However, no updates on ebenefits so far for me and I suspect, the package will just show up in the mail within the next 30 days or so....I hope? Then, if it does not go my way, I'll request FOIA C-File again and go thru the normal NODs, CUEs and/or use the DRO as you did. I would like to hear more about your DRO experience -like how long did it take to get a date, was it difficult, any basic tips...etc? I'm an analyst and former Federal FOIA Officer, so, I can put a pretty good challenge together -if need be? I saw yesterday that VA Disability Lawyers after 2013 can charge up to 30% for a case, plus expenses (which worries me) so, I will think long and hard about hiring a lawyer until it's my last option?

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