Veterans Affairs Regional Office
VA’s initial adjudication of a disability claim typically takes place at the veteran’s local Regional Office (RO). Upon receiving a disability claim, the RO gathers evidence, such as missing records, to add to the veteran’s claim file (C-file). This is a part of VA’s duty to assist. The evidence in this C-file is then reviewed and a decision is made using applicable law granting or denying the claim.
A VA Regional Office exists in every state in the U.S., including U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico and The Philippines. VA divides these regional offices into five districts: North Atlantic, Southeast, Midwest, Continental, and Pacific. Visit VA’s website to find the Regional Office nearest you.
VA Regional Offices administer an array of services such as Compensation, Insurance, Loan Guaranty, Education, Pension, and Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment for servicemembers, veterans, their families, and survivors in the areas they serve. Other services such as VA benefit eligibility counseling and applications, providing memorial and healthcare benefit information, and veteran outreach including at-risk veterans are offered at VA Regional Offices.
Agency of Original Jurisdiction (AOJ)
The Agency or Original Jurisdiction (AOJ) typically refers to the VA Regional Office (RO) where a claim was initially processed. The AOJ is responsible for reexamining claims following receipt of a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) to determine if “additional development or review is warranted.” After this review is completed or if no further review is required, the AOJ will issue the veteran a Statement of the Case.
If an appeal is perfected to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals and the Board issues a remand, the case is sent back to the AOJ, which will then complete additional evidentiary and procedural development. Once development has been completed, the AOJ reviews the claim to determine if this additional development, along with the evidence previously of record, warrants a grant of benefits. If the benefits sought on appeal remain denied, the AOJ issues the veteran a Supplemental Statement of the Case (SSOC).
Claims Intake Center
The claims intake center is the Veterans Benefits Administration’s (VBA) centralized processing location for inbound mail. Veterans send any claims or appeal-related documents, including evidence and initial compensation applications, to this location in order for it to be scanned and saved in the electronic Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS). All correspondence pertaining to compensation claims should be sent to the following location:
Department of Veteran Affairs
Claims Intake Center
PO Box 4444
Janesville, WI 53547-4444
Or fax to:
Records Management Center
The VA’s Records Management Center (RMC) is a VBA storage facility for veterans’ claims files. This facility is the administration’s primary resource for managing paper records. When VA actively worked to transform into a paperless environment and implemented VBMS, the need for establishing paper claims files became obsolete.
With the evolving environment of records management, the RMC was tasked with a new goal of processing compensation-related Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Privacy Act requests in 2015, relieving Regional Offices of this responsibility. To process these requests, the RMC downloads requested records from VBMS, reviews, and redacts the information to then send to the veteran in the form of a burned CD. In addition to FOIA and Privacy Act requests, the RMC facilitates the flow of Guard or Reserve medical records between the Department of Defense’s electronic system to VBMS.
The Records Management Center is located at:
4300 Goodfellow Blvd., Building 104
St. Louis, MO 63120
Pension Management Center
Pension Management Centers (PMC) are the part of the Veterans Benefits Administration that processes pension-related actions. Pension-related actions can include receiving initial pension claims and adjusting benefit payments due to changes in net worth, income, or dependency status. Such actions pertaining to VA programs such as Non-Service Connected Disability Pension, Death Pension, and Dependency and Indemnity compensation (DIC) are handled by PMCs.
Three pension management centers exist, serving different geographical regions of the country: Philadelphia serving the east coast in states from Maine to Florida, Milwaukee serving states from Ohio to Louisiana, and St. Paul serving the rest of the country. A map of the areas served can be found on VA’s Pension Management Centers website.
Debt Management Center
The Debt Management Center manages the debt that veterans, servicemembers, and their families can incur by participating in most VA compensation, pension, and education programs in addition to home loans closed before January 1, 1990. The DMC can provide veterans, servicemembers, and their families information on payment plans, amounts offset from benefits payments, and what to do should these payments cause financial hardship.
Department of Veterans Affairs
Debt Management Center – 389
P.O Box 11930
St. Paul, MN 55111-0930
Veterans Affairs Medical Centers
Over 170 VA medical centers exist across the United States. These medical centers provide veterans with a wide range of medical services ranging from traditional hospital care to specialty care. Such services can include:
- Traditional hospital services such as:
- Critical Care
- Mental Health
- Physical Therapy
- Specialty care services:
- Speech pathology
To find the VA medical center nearest you, use VA’s Facility locator.
Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISN)
The Veterans Health Administration is comprised of 18 sections called VISNs. These networks of VA hospitals are divided by geographical region. For example, the VA New England Healthcare System VISN is made up of VA medical centers located throughout Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. A full list of these VISNs can be found on VA’s website.