A VA claims file, often called a C-file, is a collection of records kept by VA in connection to a veteran’s disability claim(s). When a veteran first files a claim for benefits, VA will request the veteran’s service records and any medical records relevant to the claim. As your claim progresses, your claims file will grow. Any additional claims you file will be added to your existing C-File as well. Claims files can be anywhere from hundreds to thousands of pages long, and typically vary from veteran to veteran. Generally, the longer a case has been pending, the larger the C-file is due to the amount of evidence and appeals involved in the case. When an initial claim is filed, the C-file is usually small due to the lack of evidence and materials that have been gathered at that point. Until the 1990s, VA C-files were entirely paper-based. All of a veteran’s service records, medical records, claims, and appeals were gathered together and used to create a hard-copy claims file. VA recognized that paper C-files were a major problem and, as a result, began to digitize everything. Now, when veterans or their representatives request a copy of a claims file, it comes on a compact disc (CD) in its entirety.
Again, a C-file includes information veterans send to VA, records VA obtains on the veteran’s behalf, and documents created by VA. Some of the most basic documents found in a veteran’s C-file include the following:
- DD-214, Report of Separation from Service
- Application for Benefits
- Denial Letters, Rating Decisions, and Code Sheets
- Medical Records
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