VA Claims Folders, the infamous C-File We can not stress enough how important it is to: View your VA Claims Folder at the Veterans Affairs regional office (find your Regional VA Office here) Call the VA at 1-800-827-1000 and request an appointment to view your C-File (VA Claims Folder).
- Ensure that all the records in your VA Claims Folder or C-File are yours.
- Check that everything you have sent to the VA is included in your VA Claims Folder.
- After viewing your VA claims folder (c-file) and correcting any mistakes you may find, you should request a hard copy of your C-File.
If you’re having a difficult time obtaining your VA Claims Folder from your Regional VA Office, you can file a written Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request. See below for more information on FOIA requests.
When you apply for disability benefits, the VA creates a claims folder. Information you send to the VA, records the VA obtains on your behalf, and documents created by the VA are all in this folder. The claims file is commonly referred to as the “C-file.”
Requesting Your Claims File
If you have been denied disability, you will want to obtain a copy of your VA Claims file to obtain information that will help you in filing your appeal. Request it from the VA Regional Office where you submitted your claim for benefits. If you do not receive it in a timely manner, make a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the file. For more information about filing a FOIA request, see Nolo’s article on obtaining VA records. You are entitled to receive one copy of your claims folder for free.
Typical Documents in a VA Claims Folder
When you receive your VA Claims Folder, don’t be surprised if the documents are somewhat disorganized. Also, there may be several copies of documents even though you really only need one copy. It can take awhile to sort it all out. If you want some help with this, you may want to find a VA disability attorney to assist you.
Here are some basic documents you might find in your C-file if you have applied for VA benefits. This is not an exhaustive list but merely a description of the most common and important documents you should find in your file. If any of these documents are missing, you will want to obtain them. (See Nolo’s article on obtaining VA records for more information about how to do that.)
DD-214, Report of Separation From Service
This is a very important document. It includes information about your character of service, which can determine your eligibility for benefits. Your DD-214 will also include your dates of service, specialties, any medals received, and other information about your term(s) of service.
Application for Benefits
Any applications for benefits that you have previously made should be included in your C-file. This can be important if you did not keep copies before submitting an application.