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VA Expands Protections for Veterans with Missing Paperwork

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    VA Expands Protections for Veterans with Missing Paperwork

    As a service officer, I encountered way too many veterans whose VA claims were sunk by lost paperwork. Finally, the VA is taking measures to right these wrongs. Please see the article below and feel free to comment.

    WASHINGTON - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced special procedures for processing claims from veterans, family members, and survivors whose applications for financial benefits from VA may have been mishandled by VA personnel. These special procedures come after an audit by VA’s Inspector General found documents waiting to be shredded at some of VA’s regional offices that, if disposed of, could have affected the financial benefits awarded to veterans and survivors.

    The procedures will assist veterans and survivors in establishing that an application or another document was previously submitted to VA, but was not properly acted upon by VA and was not retained in the veteran’s records. The special procedures cover missing documents submitted by a veteran or other applicant for VA benefits during the 18-month period between April 14, 2007 and October 14, 2008.

    VA will process any missing applications or evidence resubmitted under these special procedures as if the document had been originally submitted on the date identified by the claimant. Veterans and other applicants have one year, or until November 17, 2009, to file previously submitted documents under these special procedures. Veterans not covered by these special rules who believe relevant material is missing from their files can submit additional documentation at any time. An award of benefits earlier than April 14, 2007, may be established if there is credible corroborating evidence supporting an earlier date of document submission.

    Veterans and others who are concerned about missing documents and want more information on the special processing procedures may call 1-800-827-1000 for assistance or go to our website at They may also send an e-mail inquiry through or visit their local VA regional office. VA representatives will review VA’s record systems to verify receipt of applications and supporting evidence and will assist anyone desiring to file a claim under the special processing procedures for missing documents.

    What a joke records burned

    My medical records i was told were stored in a warehouse in st. Louis and itburned down and every record was lost. So now what dso i do, i have ms and can not get any disability from the va, they keep sayinjg that it is not service related. Well if thay could produce my medical records we could all see they tried a pandemic shot to a recruits in summer of 1976, and i understand many young men suffered many side affects up to and including dying from the shot. Many suffer neurological problems, and i have benn told by them that i have ms but a spinal tap i had done at an independent hospital came up negative for ms, yet they say i have ms, its a cop out to keep from paying me any kind of compensation. Help


      I would advise you to go to this website and ask your question in the VA disability claims (general) forum. You will get the correct answers. Not just the ones you want to hear. You are not alone. There are many affected vets just like yourself who have missing records. The vets and mods at the VBN website will tell you what is true.
      Anything worth doing, is worth doing to excess


        Here is information on the St Louis Fire from 1973.

        National Archives and Records Administration is the official depository for records of military personnel separated from the United States Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy. The records are housed in three locations: the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C., the Washington National Records Center in Suitland, Md., and the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis, Mo.

        The NPRC contains records relating to: U.S. Army officers separated after June 30, 1917, and enlisted Army personnel separated after October 31, 1912.
        U.S. Air Force officers and enlisted personnel separated after September 1947.
        U.S. Naval officers separated after 1902, and naval enlisted personnel separated after 1885. U.S. Marine Corps officers separated after 1895, and enlisted personnel separated after 1904.
        U.S. Coast Guard officers separated after 1928, and enlisted personnel separated after 1914. Civilian employees of predecessor agencies (Revenue Cutter Service, Life-Saving Service and Lighthouse Service) of the U.S. Coast Guard from 1864- 1919.

        The Fire
        A fire at the NPRC in St. Louis on July 12, 1973, destroyed about 80 percent of the records for Army personnel discharged between November 1, 1912, and January 1, 1960. About 75 percent of the records for Air Force personnel with surnames from "Hubbard" through "Z" discharged between September 25, 1947, and January 1, 1964, were also destroyed.
        What Was Lost
        It is hard to determine exactly what was lost in the fire, because there were no indices to the blocks of records involved. The records were merely filed in alphabetical order for the following groups: World War I: Army September 7, 1939 to November 1, 1912
        World War II: Army December 3l, 1946 to September 8, 1939
        Post World War II: Army December 3l, 1959 to January 1, 1947; Air Force: December 31, 1963 to September 25, 1947

        Millions of records, especially medical records, had been withdrawn from all three groups and loaned to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) prior to the fire. The fact that one's records are not in NPRC files at a particular time does not mean the records were destroyed in the fire.

        Reconstruction of Lost Records

        If a veteran is advised that his or her records may have been lost in the fire, he or she may send photocopies of any documents they possess to the NPRC, particularly separation documents. The address is National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records, 9700 Page Blvd., St. Louis, MO 631325 1 00. This enables the NPRC to re-establish files by adding those documents to the computerized index and filing them permanently.

        Alternate Sources of Military Service Data

        In the event a veteran does not have any records in his or her possession, the essential military service data may be available from a number of alternate sources. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) maintains records on veterans whose military records were affected by the fire if the veteran or a beneficiary filed a claim prior to July 1973.
        Service information may also be found in various kinds of "organizational" records such as unit morning reports, payrolls and military orders on file at the NPRC or other National Archives and -Records Administration facilities.
        There also is a great deal of information available in records of the State Adjutants General, and other state veterans services" offices.

        By using alternate sources, NPRC may often be able to reconstruct a veteran's beginning and ending dates of active service, the character of service, rank while in service, time lost while on active duty, and periods of hospitalization. NPRC is usually able to issue NA Form 13038, "Certification of Military Service, "considered the equivalent of a Form DD-214, "Report of Separation From Active Duty," for the purpose of establishing eligibility for veterans benefits.

        Necessary Information for File Reconstruction

        The key to reconstructing military data is to give the NPRC enough specific information so the staff can properly search the various sources. The following information is normally required: Full name used during military service
        Branch of service
        Approximate dates of service
        Service number
        Place of entry into service
        Last Unit of assignment
        Place of discharge.