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Tacoma Chapter #1

Helping Washington Veterans Since 1921

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VA Claim Checklist

    Basically, all VA Claims begin with the same 3 things:

1) Proof of Qualified Military Service

□ DD-214 for every period of service that is
  NOT “Dishonorable” or “Other Than Honorable”

2) Proof of Medical History related to Military Service

□ Service Medical Treatment Records (SMR or STR) in your file

□ ER, Inpatient and Outpatient records from every military/civilian hospital, Medical Unit or TMC

3) Proof of All Dependents - Family & Support Orders

□ Certificates of Marriage, Divorce, Birth and Death - including DATE and PLACE

□ Social Security Numbers and Date of Birth for all dependents

□ If the current spouse was married before, then document that history as well including DATE and PLACE of previous marriages and divorces

Also, Other Supporting Documents You Should Have

□ All Military Physical Evaluation Board (PEB) Decisions - Especially if Medical Discharge

□ ALL Previous VA Rating Decisions

□ Social Security Disability Decision Letter with medical condition for decision

□ All related medical records after the military. (VA, Tricare and Private)
Only private records for conditions in VA claim - Other stuff does not help

□ Witness Statements - Buddy Letters - Pictures - Newspaper Articles

And Your Direct Deposit Information

□ Checking or Savings Account Information and Bank Routing Number.

Ask your DAV Service Officer to help you find copies of any records you do not already have.

If you file a claim without proof, you will waste a lot of time and lose a lot of money. A Fully Developed Claim (FDC) means that you have gathered everything and sent it to the VA, so they do not have to do the work. The VA can go directly to rating and payment instead of waiting for up to 6 months just to get basic records.

DAV Volunteer Chapter Service Officers and NSOs are here to help you make your claim more effectively.

Ground Rules:

1) Making VA Claim takes time and preparation.
This is not a one-stop, drive through process.
You must be willing to meet with your DAV service officer several times and work on this for up to 2 years for your first claim.

The better prepared you are,      
      the faster and easier it will go.

2) Please remember to be patient: It will take at least 45 days before the VA sends you a letter to say they have received the claim and even longer for them to begin working on it.

3) DAV Volunteers are here to help you get your records together and help you learn how to submit a more effective claim.

4) DAV Volunteers are not paid by the VA or by DAV , so please be patient with us.
    Do not yell at us or threaten us. We are here to help you.

5) Volunteers do not have access to any of your files or computer records. You must bring everything with you so we can see your military history and where you are in the claim process.

6) Only our DAV National Service Officers (NSOs) are authorized to see your VA claim file on the computer. NSOs are full-time employees of DAV with the advanced training and qualification to represent you at the VA.

7) Whenever you receive a letter from the VA, CONTACT your DAV Service Officer and tell us what the VA is asking for.

8) DO NOT Go behind DAV and send things directly to the VA. If you do, you can set your case back for years and that could cost you a lot of time and money.


EVERY TIME you come to see the DAV Service Officer,
Not just the latest VA letter or medical opinion.
The whole thing.

Use this checklist to put your records together and keep them in order so you can have things ready to package in your claim.

Also, keep in mind that your surviving dependents will need this entire file to claim DIC survivor benefits if your death is caused because of a service connected condition.

Service Offices

  • Seattle

    • DAV National Service Office
         Full-Time Employees

    • 915 2nd Ave.
         Room. 1040
      Seattle, WA 98174

    • 206-341-8267

    • Hours:
         By Appointment Only
    • Mon-Tue-Thu-Fri: 8:00am to 2:30pm
    • Wed: 8:00am to 11:30am

  • American Lake

    • DAV Department Service Office
         Full-Time Employee

    • American Lake
        VA Medical Center
      Bldg. 16 -- Room 103
      9600 Veterans Drive
      Tacoma, WA 98493

    • 253-583-1303

    • Hours:
      Mon - Thu: 8:00am to 2:30pm
      Wed - Closed at 12pm
    • Walk-In Only
      First Come   First Served

  • Tacoma

    • DAV Chapter #1
         Part-Time Volunteers

    • 1110 N. Stevens St.
      Tacoma, WA 98406

    • 253-752-2970

  • Lakewood

    • DAV Chapter #18
         Part-Time Volunteers

    • 5604 75th St W
      Lakewood, WA 98499

    • 253-472-4680

  • Bremerton

    • DAV Chapter #5
         Part-Time Volunteers

    • 4980 Auto Center Way
      Bremerton, WA 98312

    • Ph: 360-373-2397
    • Fax: 360-627-288

  • Olympia

    • DAV Chapter #41
         Part-Time Volunteers

    • 3434 Martin Way E #8
      Olympia, WA 98503

    • 360-459-7400

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