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
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 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.
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 what you need to do 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) DAV Volunteers do not have access to any files or computer records in your claim or in your military history, so do not expect us to see anything you do not bring with you.
6) Only our DAV National Service Officers (NSO) 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, especially if they are requesting more documents, 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.
We cannot help you if you leave your documents at home.
BRING THE ENTIRE WORKING FILE.
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.
DAV National Service Office
- 915 2nd Ave.
Seattle, WA 98174
By Appointment Only
- Mon-Tue-Thu-Fri: 8:00am to 2:30pm
- Wed: 8:00am to 11:30am
DAV Department Service Office
- American Lake
VA Medical Center
Bldg. 16 -- Room 103
9600 Veterans Drive
Tacoma, WA 98493
Mon - Thu: 8:00am to 2:30pm
Wed - Closed at 12pm
- Walk-In Only
First Come First Served
DAV Chapter #1
- 1110 N. Stevens St.
Tacoma, WA 98406
- Hours: Temporarily Closed until September
DAV Chapter #18
- 5604 75th St W
Lakewood, WA 98499
DAV Chapter #5
- 2315 Burwell St
Bremerton, WA 98312
- Ph: 360-373-2397
- Fax: 360-627-288
DAV Chapter #41
- 920 Poplar St SE
Olympia, WA 98503