What is a C-File?
A VA claims file, most often referred to as a C-File, is an important piece of the disability and benefits puzzle. It contains all of the records the VA receives and obtains that relate to disability benefits. The file can contain service records, medical records, benefit application, all claims, appeals, denial letters, code sheets, ratings decisions, and a DD-214 (tseparation from service report).
A veteran’s C-File is extremely important. Without the right documents and information, the veteran may not get established service- connection, the most accurate ratings for any disabilities, or the right date for disability compensation to begin. A huge step in the disability process is making sure the file has all of the information needed and that it is accurate.
C-File vs Medical File
While the C-File does contain medical records and reports, it is not the same as a medical file. An easy way to remember is to refer to the following:
- Veterans’ Benefits Administration- responsible for service connected benefits / C-File
- Veterans’ Health Administration- responsible for medical care and records as the veteran uses their care
Some of the files from the Veterans’ Health Administration can end up in the file, but many times they don’t. This makes it crucial for the veteran to be aware and obtain a copy of their C-File to review and see what has or hasn’t been done in the file in response to claims submitted. Length varies, but the longer a case or claims have been pending or going on, the larger the file.
How Do You Get a Copy?
The waiting time for receiving a copy of the C-File used to greatly vary, ranging from a few months to a year or more in some cases. The good news is, new streamlined measures now allow you to complete a VA C-File request form online here: https://www.va.gov/find-forms/about-form-20-10206. Once it is completed, it can be emailed to FOIA.email@example.com.
For veterans who do not want to do this online, they can also contact their local VA Regional Office to request a copy of their C-File. Form 3288 can be completed and emailed, faxed or dropped off at the local VA Regional Office. Find a location at: https://www.va.gov/find-locations. Keep in mind that this process can take more time than the streamlined email request.
You can check on the status of the request by logging in to VA.gov.
Check the C-File
Once a veteran has a copy of their C-File, as mentioned above, it is crucial to review it and make sure the information it contains is accurate. Another important step is to check the status of the claims as shown in the C-File.
Team Up to Advocate for Yourself
Doing the VA dance for service-connected disability benefits is not easy or straightforward. It can take time, determination to keep at it, and is oftentimes extremely confusing. This is why we recommend teaming up with someone that understands the process, can help sort through the confusion, and help you get the benefits and rating you deserve as smoothly and as streamlined as possible.
The more you know, the more you realize what benefits and compensation you have earned and deserve from your years of service. Be your own best advocate – use the button below to connect with one of our knowledgeable and helpful team members for a free consultation and screening. We are transparent and will let you know if you are eligible for our services. If not, we’ll help direct you to some other resources.Click Here for Info on Your Free Consultation
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