VA Guidelines For Compensation

Step by Step Instructions

1) Call, or visit your County VA office first! Try to speak with the Director of the Center. Have proof of service (DD 214) or similar evidence of qualifying service. Look in phone book, or call information for your county's phone number.

 2) Starting point is to gather the medical facts. Try to obtain a copy of your service medical records by filling out a "Standard Form 180" requesting "all medical records and clinical reports". Two purposes for doing so:

   1. Assist current Medical Doctor in treating you,
  2. Identify "in-service" first experience with illness, or related illness, to develop your claim.

 3) Three parts to a VA claim for Disability Compensation: (VA Form 21-526)

   1. Something happened to you in the form of injury or illness while you were in the service.
  2. Problem has chronic and persistent aspects that continue to bother you, as evidenced by continuous medical treatment or clear medical evidence linking what happened in service with what you are experiencing now ( called: RESIDUALS).
  3. Disability impacts adversely on employment.

 4) The VA pays disability compensation to close the gap in dollars between what you earn now and what you could earn if you did not have the disability (HCV in this case).

 5) Seek qualified help in filling out VA Form 21-526! Qualified help can be obtained from your County VA Office.

 6) Focus on BOX # 17, on VA Form 21-526, by carefully listing first sick call or treatment in-service for the illness.

   1. For example hepatitis infection (date of first awareness in service) and then see continuation sheet.
  2. Use plain bond paper to list chronologically each in-service treatment for all illnesses that may be related to hep.
  3. Attach photocopies of service medical records that support your outline.
  4. County director will help you fill out rest of the form omitting last sections dealing with pensions.

 7) You are applying for disability compensation. Recommend discussing award of limited power of attorney to a service organization like VFW or American Legion to represent your claim at the VA regional office in your state. If not, you will have to go to the regional office whenever your paperwork is needed to be signed or initialed.

 8) About 2-3 months after submitting your claim VA will send you a letter asking for medical evidence.

 9) Through your County Director's Office send VA medical evidence - clearly linking HCV to Hepatitis. This allows a copy of your paperwork to be keep on file at your local office. This is a good idea for your protection.

 10) About 2 months later you will be directed to go to a VA Med Center to be given a C & P exam (Compensation and Pension). You must make that appointment!!

   1. Bring medical evidence of current medical problem and literature linking illnesses. Share these with your examiner.
  2. Stress affects of illness on your everyday life especially on your job.


 VA has no current rating table for HCV. We have no idea, yet, how the rating officers will rate HCV.

 It is VERY important for you to keep all copies of every medical treatment for this illness for future requests for upgrades in disability comp.

You have rights as a veteran and you should not feel guilty asking for what you earned, and deserve!

Filing An Appeal with the U.S. Court of Veterans Appeals

A VA claim may be appealed from the Board of Veterans' Appeals to the Court of Veterans Appeals. This court is independent of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Only claimants may seek a review by the court; VA may not appeal BVA decisions.

 To appeal to the court, the claimant must have filed a Notice of Disagreement on or after Nov. 18, 1988. The notice of appeal must be received by the court within 120 days after the Board of Veterans Appeals mails its final decision.

 The court does not hold trials or receive new evidence. The court reviews the record that was considered by the Board of Veterans Appeals. Oral argument is held only at the direction of the court. Either party may appeal a decision of the court to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and to the Supreme Court of the United States. Appellants may represent themselves before the court or have lawyers or approved agents as representatives.

 The court decisions are published in West's Veterans Appeals Reporter, in the WESTLAW and LEXIS online services, and in the court's electronic bulletin board, which can be reached at 202-501-5836. For information about the court's rules and procedures, contact the Clerk of the Court at:

 625 Indiana Ave. NW, Suite 900, Washington, DC 20004, or call 1-800-869-8654.

 VA Fraud & Abuse Hotline ~ 1-800-488-8244

**Most VA Regional Offices do not accept phone claims. Do not waste time sending in what are called an informal claim unless you anticipate a long wait for medical evidence which supports the claim. Authorize a power of attorney to the VFW or American Legion so their service officers can represent your claim at the regional office. Success with VA comes when you present a completed staff action which includes the substantiating medical documentation. You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. Correct about not appealing. Always ask for reconsideration based on new medical evidence or some material error in VA's decision.