|Matthew Hill:||Hello there. I am Matthew Hill and this is Carol Ponton on the Hill and Ponton VA video blog. Today, we want to talk to you about a question we get all the time. What is my claims file or what is my C-file?|
|And simply put, your C-file is the folder that the VA benefits section keeps on you that has any and all information about every claim you’ve ever file.|
|Carol Ponton:||It should have your service medical records, should have every claim you file, the compensation and pension exams, all of the records they collected and the decisions that they made.|
|Matthew Hill:||The key distinction here though is the records they have versus the records you think they should have.|
|Matthew Hill:||Whenever we take a claim, the first thing we do is we get a copy of our veterans file because that, in essence, it’s the foundation of our representation and that’s what we look to figure out our plan of attack and how were you going to get your benefits because we don’t know what we don’t know. We talked to our veterans and they tell us all of this medical evidence they file, service records they file, and then we look in the file and somehow that’s not there.|
|In essence, that can be a pretty easy case because that’s just making sure the records get in the file, but also, they’ll be negative CMP exams that we will need to counter with positive ones. Going in and filing a claim and having to file an appeal and not having your records, it’s kind of like fighting with your hand behind your back. They have all the information and you don’t.|
|Carol Ponton:||I find that a lot of my veterans think the issue is, what I have to prove is one thing when it’s really something totally different. When we get the claim file, then we know exactly what you need to win and we can tell you that. Getting the claims file takes a long time. We basically ask for the claim file, we wait three months, then we have to file a FOIA, which is Freedom of Information and Privacy Act appeal. We have to wait three more months and then usually we have to sue them and then they provide the file. So it’s taking a while.|
|The other reason you need the file is we get independent medical opinions most of the time and the VA will not give them credence. They won’t listen to them unless we can show that the person getting this opinion has read your claim file, the pertinent parts of the claim file related to what they’re giving you an opinion on.|
|That’s one of the things that hurts our veterans. They will send in an opinion from their doctor, but the doctor hasn’t read the claim file. That claim file is key to winning your case.|
|Matthew Hill:||Then if you’re not getting it again, you’re handicapping yourself on being able to win your claim.|
|Thanks for joining us today and we look forward to seeing you again on the space soon.|
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