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C-File with VSO


Usaf9498

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I filed for PTSD, and secondaries to PTSD for hearing loss, tinnitus, and sleep apnea on Aug 8th. So far, I have only had my hearing loss C and P.  I called in to Peggy and asked to schedule an appointment to view my C-File. The gentleman I spoke with said why don't you go to Amvets at the Kansas City VAMC, that they were a CVSO and could let me view my C-File there instead of driving to Wichita which is my Regional, which is 4 hours away. I said great then called Amvets in KC. No answer and no voicemail so I sent an email. I got an immediate response back from an auto reply saying the KC Amvets office closed for good a few days earlier and to email a guy in St. Louis for help. I did and he said no problem, he had a way for me to view my file. Several days passed and then nothing. I emailed asking for a status update and he said that I did not sign a POA so he could no longer help me. He never offered to have me sign one, just sorry. I can't help.

So, my options are drive 8 hours round trip to Wichita, use a VSO, or wait for a copy of my file in the mail. Can you give a VSO POA for nothing more that to see your C-File or do they then have control of your claim moving forward?

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Usaf9498. Go ahead and order your c-file. It certainly can take months to get, but you should have it anyway. Your ongoing claims will also generate more new stuff, so you will want to get another copy after your claim comes in. The VSO situation is a little more tricky. You can call a VSO and tell them what you want to do and are they willing to work with you. They usually want credit for the POA, not necessarily doing a lot of work for you. If you can't get someone to work with you, I'd do the trip myself. Call and see if you need to make an appointment first, and, can you make copies of some of its paperwork. It is possible they will make a copy for you after it is pulled and mail it to you. You really should have gotten a copy before submitting your claim, so you are working behind the 8-ball.

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I agree that you need to order your c-file.  Most agencies will not work with you if you do not sign a POA.  Some of them will even not work with you then.  What you need most to file for claims though is your STR's.  If you do not have an event in service then your claim fails most of the time.  You need an in service event, a chronic condition, and a nexus that ties the two together.  If you have service records of an in service event bring copies these notes from your STR's to your C&P, do not trust the VA to have all of the information for the examiner.

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The trouble with ordering a cfile (regardless of whether you get one on CDrom or paper), is that its obsolete by the time you get it.  New evidence can be added or subtracted to your file every day.  If it takes a month to get your cfile, then new stuff can likely be in your file, and maybe some removed, too.  

I have a similar problem.  I dont want to use the local yokel VSO's, they dont have enough knowledge about VA benefits to know the difference between compensation and pension.  (My VSO in 2002 could have filed for pension for me; he knew I was in dire straights had no income and no job).  

So, I got a "NATIONAL" VSO.  I emailed the DAV at my Regional Office, and he responed.  I faxed him my POA.  The National VSO's have much more training, and more experience.  They often prepare briefs at the BVA.  The must know more.  

I dont have patience enough to deal with a VSO who knows less than I do, and I dont want to train VSO's.  My claim is complex, it involves an EED, and SMC, and those are not issues for rookies.  

I wont be able to meet my national VSO, as I have no intention of traveling to my VARO.  Its too far.  I like communicating by email better anyway.  Then I have a record of every statment he makes.  I will communicate either by email or via my close caption phone, and I think there is a way to print conversations should I so desire.  At least what he said, not what I say.  

I want a VSO who can look at my VBMS file..in real time..and tell me what is there.  That is, if VA has deleted any of my key evidence and I know which evidence this is, too.  

Im in this a little late to get an attorney at the BVA.  (My claim is already at the BVA.)  I had an attorney at the CAVC, he won a remand, and got paid from EAJA.  

My attorney does not "do" representation at the BVA.  I know why, too.  It takes too long to get paid (5 years), while an appeal to the CAVC usually happens in a year.  

So, now I dont have a representative, and my claim is already at the Board.  I elected to go with a VSO, as its straight forward.  I got an IMO, and I should win.  If I lose at the BVA, I will get an attorney to appeal at the CAVC.  

 

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Request your C-File and yes be prepared to wait (mine took about 5 - 6 months). I am getting ready to request it again, I have had a new decision and will have that included. Plus I have a couple of pending claims that if completed will also be on my C-File.

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