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Evidence for Your VA Claim: What you need & where to find it

Read the BLOG here.

Finding the right evidence for your VA claim can feel like an overwhelming task. In this video, we break it down and explain what kinds of evidence VA requires to prove service connection for a disability compensation claim, where veterans can find that evidence, and how to counter unfavorable evidence that may be in your VA file.

Chapter 1: VA’s Evidence Requirements

  • What is all this evidence for? What are we trying to prove in a VA disability compensation case?
  • What are the elements of service connection?
  • What is the “burden of proof”? What does “as least as likely as not” mean?

Chapter 2: Types of Evidence: Service Records

  • service records (like your DD214, locations of service, service medical records, performance evaluations, etc.)
  • and how to get them(using a VA Form 180, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, Navy Deck Logs, and other tools)
  • VA’s Duty to Assist veterans (in the Legacy Appeals system and the new Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP))

Chapter 3: Types of Evidence: Medical Evidence

  • medical records and opinions(like your separation exam, service medical records, VA examinations or Compensation & Pension examinations, official medical opinions, and treatment records from a private provider or your VA medical provider)
  • how to get records or a medical opinion from your provider and what they need to know about VA claims (like what is a “medical nexus” and how to respond to an unfavorable C&P exam)

Chapter 4: Types of Evidence: Employment Records

  • employment records(like performance evaluations, disciplinary actions, a VA Form 4192 questionnaire, etc.)

Chapter 5: Types of Evidence: Lay Statements

  • lay statements(like buddy statements and statements from friends, family, or coworkers)
  • and how to do them right(so that VA considers them competent and credible)
  • and how to submit lay statements(we weight the benefits of using a Statement in Support of Claim form, a letter, and requesting a Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA) hearing)

Chapter 6: Other Evidence Tips

  • What is the best time to submit evidence to the VA?
  • What is a claims file, or c-file, and what can it tell you about your VA claim? And how can you get a copy of your c-file?

Chapter 7: Evidence for specific types of VA claims

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Military Sexual Trauma (MST), Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU) or VA Unemployability, and presumptive conditions like those for Vietnam Veterans exposed to Agent Orange

Chapter 8: Evidence at the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC)

  • What you need to know about the “Record Before the Agency” (RBA) at the highest veterans’ court

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