In other posts, I talk about how to digitize your C-File using a productivity app called Evernote.
Since writing that post I've received a lot of emails and posts in several Facebook groups that I am a member of -- all asking how to get your VA C File in the first place.
In this post, I'll tell you 3 ways.
(In future posts, I will show you how to organize that C-File. After that, I will teach you some ways to analyze it better to find the missing pieces in your VA Claims Puzzle).
The C-File is your VA Claims File and it in theory contains all the information that the VA needs to decide your claim.
The C-File contains service records, service medical records, post-service treatment records, VA correspondence (with you and internal to the VA), C&P Exam Request letters, C&P Exam Opinions, and the VA's legal documents like your NOD, VA Form 9, etc.
It is my opinion that this is the single most important component of every VA Claim.
It's so important that my Firm won't take a case until we can get a copy of the C-File from the Veteran's Regional Office.
There are 3 ways to get your C-File from the VA:
1) Drive to your Regional Office and ask them to copy it for you.
You'll get the paper portion of the file that day (though you'll probably wait a few hours)
You probably won't get the electronic portion of your C-File stored in at least 3 electronic filing systems that I know of so far.
You should call 800-827-1000 and schedule an appointment first, so the VA Regional Office Staff doesn't turn you away when you get there.
Not everyone is close enough to their VARO to drive.
None that I know of. Seriously, the only thing LESS useful than this form are those little squares of toilet tissue that come in the MRE. (It's the right idea, but just not enough to get the job done.)
There is no obligation for the VA to respond to this Form.
Requests using this form can take months, possibly years.
* Here's a link to VA Form 3288 if you really want to submit another form that the VA doesn't have to respond to:
VA has legal duty to provide your C-File in 20 business days.
If the VA Regional Office does not respond, you can ask a Federal Court for an Order directing the VA to produce your C-File (something with TEETH, finally!)
You have to be ready to take action if the VA doesn't make its timeline.
Because you are using a method with real TEETH if the VA doesn't comply, your request will skip ahead of other Vets that have been waiting longer for their C-File.
This method isn't something I just "pulled out of a hat".
It took years of getting "fed up" with the VA taking its sweet time producing C-Files in my clients cases.
It took years of trying several different methods that did not work until I found a process that does work.
It took years of realizing how important this file was, but how hard it was to get a simple copy from the VA.
The process we use works so well that in Fall 2013, I showed over 50 Veterans' advocates and law firms at a recent legal conference how to get your VA C File. I know of at least a dozen law firms that are NOW actively using the ALF Method for getting C-Files.
I get 2-3 emails a week from law firms wanting me to teach other groups of Veterans and lawyers how to get your VA C Files.
Because it works. It works if you use it.
I figured that if the "ALF" Method for getting a copy of a Veteran's C-File was so popular with attorneys, and was so effective, I need to write a book about it.
* Step-by-Step explanation of how to get your VA C File
* Every Form Template you might need - and tips/pointers on using the forms
* Explanation of what to do if the VA doesn't send your FREE C-File within 20 business days of your request.
* The VA's FOIA Requestor Handbook, which will tell you the VA's policy on releasing ANY type of information you request.
* Names, addresses, fax numbers, phone numbers and (where provided) email addresses for the 1-2 employees in each VA Regional Office whose job it is to produce C-Files.
* FREE updates when I release new editions to the eBook.
The eBook has 56 pages of content in total. If we update the eBook, I will send you a FREE updated copy, so you never have to buy the eBook again.
Another option to get this information is to purchase an eBook Collection...in this particular eBook Collection I will give you our 3 most popular eBooks:
By purchasing the collection, you save 29% off the cost of purchasing the 3 eBooks separately.
I'm not selling eBooks to Veterans to get rich. If I wanted to get rich, I'd run for Congress. I have a bigger Vision and a Bigger Purpose:
The Attig Law Firm Will Change the Way YOU Experience the VA Claims Process.
We'll do it by giving MORE Information and MORE Power in MORE Ways to MORE Veterans.
Chris Attig, an Accredited Veterans Benefits attorney and Founder of the Attig Law Firm, PLLC is responsible for the content of the site. The principal office of Attig Law Firm, PLLC, is located in Dallas, Texas. Chris Attig is NOT Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. - Please view our website disclaimer.
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