Common VA Acronyms That Veteran’s Should be Familiar With

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Many different acronyms are used during the VA benefits claim process. This can make an already complicated process seem even more confusing. Below is a list of some of the common acronyms used by the VA.

VA Acronyms 
BVA = Board of Veteran’s AppealsAlso known as the “Board.” This is where a veteran’s claim will eventually go after a denial from the RO (Regional Office).
C-file = Claims fileA messy collection of the veteran’s VA paperwork. This file is often times unorganized and may be missing documents. The c-file is important to have in order to become familiar with a veteran’s claim.
C&P = Compensation and pension“C&P” most often refers to VA medical exams. The C&P Service is part of the VA benefits administration, not part of the VA healthcare system.
CAVC = U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans’ ClaimsAlso known as the “Court.” In older decisions, it may be referred to as the CVA or CoVA.
CUE = Clear and Unmistakable ErrorA claim based on CUE is very difficult to prove; the veteran must show that the error was based upon the record and the law that existed at the time the decision was made. In addition to showing that a CUE was made by the VA, the veteran must show that his decision would have been “manifestly different but for the alleged error.” In other words, the veteran must show that his decision would have had a favorable outcome had the VA not made the CUE.
DBQ = Disability Benefits QuestionnaireThese are forms used by VA doctors during a medical exam to evaluate a veteran’s disability claim. A veteran can also use their own doctor to fill out a DBQ.
DC = Diagnostic codeThis is a 4 digit number that is assigned to different conditions on the VA’s rating schedule. Each DC has a list of percentages used to rate the disability based on how severe the veteran’s symptoms are.
DIC = Death & Indemnity CompensationThis is a benefit awarded to qualifying surviving spouses or surviving dependents when a service connected condition is a cause of the veteran’s death.
ED = Effective dateThis is usually the date that the VA receives a veteran’s claim. The veteran is entitled to receive benefits starting on the ED.
DRO = Decision Review OfficerA member of the RO rating team who reviews a rating decision at the request of the claimant once there has been an initial denial
FOIA = Freedom of Information ActA law that gives you the right to access information from the federal government. For example, a veteran may make a FOIA request to obtain records of theirs that the VA has.
IME = Independent Medical ExamThis medical exam can be very helpful in providing favorable evidence to support a veteran’s disability claim. IME’s are not provided by the VA.
IR = Increased ratingAn IR claim is filed to get a higher rating for an already service connected
IU = Individual UnemployabilityCertain veterans can receive disability compensation at the 100% rate even though the VA hasn’t rated their service connected disability at 100%.
NOD = Notice of DisagreementA NOD must be filed within one year of receiving a rating decision if the veteran disagrees with that decision and wants to appeal it.
QTC = Quality, Timeliness & Customer ServiceThis is a company that the VA will often use to do C&P examinations. The company is not actually a part of the VA.
RO = Regional OfficeMost disability claims start at the RO. The RO where a claim starts will usually be the one closest to the veteran’s residence. The RO might also be referred to as ‘VARO’ which stands for Veterans Affairs Regional Office.
VAE = VA ExamThis is just another name used for C&P examinations. Always be sure to check that the VA followed their own rules during the exam.
VBA = Veterans Benefits AdministrationThe division of the VA that administers compensation and other benefits to veterans, their dependents, and survivors of veterans. Common benefits include: compensation, pension, survivor’s benefits (for example, DIC claims), rehabilitation and employment assistance, education assistance, home loan guaranties, and life insurance coverage.
VHA = Veterans Health AdministrationA division of the VA, but is completely separate from the division that handles veterans’ benefits.

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