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M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, Chapter 2, Section G – Withdrawal of Initial Claims

Overview


In This Section

This section contains the following topics:
Topic
Topic Name
1
2
3
4

1.  General Information About Requests to Withdraw an Initial Claim


Introduction

This topic contains general information about receiving a claimant’s request to withdraw a pending initial claim, including


Change Date

March 4, 2019

III.ii.2.G.1.a.  Who May Withdraw a Claim and What Types of Claims May Be Withdrawn

A claimant or a claimant’s authorized representative may withdraw any type of claim that is before the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), to include a claim for
  • disability compensation
  • Veterans Pension
  • additional benefits for dependents
  • survivors benefits, or
  • an apportionment of benefits.
Important:  The procedures reflected in this section apply to initial claims only.
References:  For more information on the withdrawal of

III.ii.2.G.1.b.  Acceptable Means for Requesting Withdrawal of a Claim

There is no prescribed form for withdrawing a claim.  VA accepts requests for withdrawal of a claim that a claimant or authorized representative submits
  • in writing (a signed statement)
  • orally (in person or by telephone), or
  • electronically (by e-mail or through eBenefits or the Stakeholder Enterprise Portal (SEP)).
The request must contain enough information to identify the claim at issue, including the name of the Veteran and claimant (if the claimant is not the Veteran) and the corresponding file number.
Important:  Follow the instructions in M21-1, Part III, Subpart iii, 1.B.1.e when accepting a request for withdrawal of a claim by telephone.
References:  For more information about

III.ii.2.G.1.c.  Requests for Claim Withdrawal in Exam Cancellations

Although a report of examination cancellation from the Veterans Health Administration or a contract examination facility may reflect that an examination was cancelled due to a claimant’s desire to withdraw the claim, this is not an adequate claim withdrawal.  When a report of examination cancellation reflects a claimant’s desire to withdraw a claim, attempt to contact the claimant to clarify intent.
  • Attempt to contact the claimant by telephone to clarify
    • whether there is intent to withdraw the claim, and
    • which issue(s) from the pending claim are being withdrawn.
  • If the claimant cannot be contacted via telephone, send the claimant theClarification of Intent to Withdraw letter available in the Letter Creatortool within the Veterans Service Center letter menu or use the equivalent Personal Computer Generated Letter (PCGL) to clarify
    • whether there is intent to withdraw the claim, and
    • which issue(s) from the pending claim are being withdrawn.
Continue processing the claim until the claimant confirms his/her intent to withdraw the claim either via telephone or in response to the Clarification of Intent to Withdraw letter.  If the claim is ready for decision but the claimant cannot be contacted via telephone, defer making a decision on the claim for 15 days following the date of the Clarification of Intent to Withdraw letter.  If the 15 day waiting period expires and no clarification of intent to withdraw is received, proceed with a decision on the claim.
References:  For more information on documentation requirements for

III.ii.2.G.1.d.  Timeliness Requirement for Submitting a Request to Withdraw a Claim

A request to withdraw a claim is valid only if VA receives it before issuing a decision notice regarding the same claim.
If VA receives a request for withdrawal of a claim after issuing a decision notice, the claimant must either accept or renounce the benefits payable to him/her as a result of VA’s decision.
Note:  Upon receipt of a request for withdrawal of a claim after VA issues a decision notice, follow the instructions in Step 1 of the procedure described in M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, 2.G.2.a.
Reference:  For information about the renouncement of benefits, see M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, 2.H.

III.ii.2.G.1.e.  Effect of the Withdrawal of a Claim

Effective the date VA receives a request to withdraw a claim,
  • the claim ceases to exist
  • the adjudicatory process with respect to the claim stops, and
  • VA must treat the claim as if the claimant never filed it.
Important:  If a claimant withdraws a claim, later refiles the same claim, and VA ultimately grants entitlement to the claimed benefit, disregard the date of receipt of the claim that was withdrawn when determining the effective date of entitlement.

III.ii.2.G.1.f.  Claimant’s Right to Retract a Request to Withdraw a Claim

A claimant or his/her authorized representative may retract a request to withdraw a pending claim.  However, a request for retraction is valid only if VA receives it within 30 days of the date VA notified the claimant that it had acted on the claimant’s request for withdrawal of the claim.
Important:
  • The policy described in the above paragraph applies equally to situations in which VA cancels a claim after erroneously inferring from communication with a claimant that he/she wishes to withdraw his/her claim.
  • The policies and principles expressed in M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, 2.G.1.b, which discusses requests to withdraw a claim, apply equally to the requests for retraction discussed in this block.

Reference:  For more information about


III.ii.2.G.1.g.  Example:  Effect That Withdrawal of a Claim Has on a Claim That VA Ultimately Grants

 Scenario:
  • On February 3, 2014, VA receives a claim from a Veteran for service connection (SC) for a back disorder.
  • On March 14, 2014, before VA decides the Veteran’s claim, VA receives a statement from the Veteran indicating that he wishes to withdraw his claim.
  • On April 12, 2014, VA notifies the Veteran by letter that he has successfully withdrawn his claim.
  • On September 3, 2014, the Veteran submits another claim for SC for the same back disorder.
  • Claims development results in the collection of evidence warranting the establishment of SC for the claimed back disorder.
Result:  VA grants entitlement to SC for the claimed back disorder with an effective date of September 3, 2014.
Rationale:  Although VA ultimately granted the claim it first received from the Veteran on February 3, 2014, that claim ceased to exist when the Veteran withdrew it on March 14, 2014.  The Veteran did not retract his request for withdrawal of the claim within 30 days after VA issued the April 12, 2014, letter.  Accordingly, VA treated that claim as if the Veteran had never filed it.

2.  Considering the Factors That Affect the Way the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Processes a Request for Withdrawal of an Initial Claim


Change Date

 May 6, 2016

III.ii.2.G.2.a.  Considering the Factors That Affect the Way VA Processes a Request for Withdrawal

The actions VA takes when processing a request for withdrawal of a claim vary, depending on
  • whether VA received the request before issuing a decision notice regarding the claim, and
  • whether the claimant wishes to withdraw all of the contentions associated with the claim.
Upon receipt of a request for withdrawal of a claim, first determine which of the above factors apply to the request.  Then follow the instructions in the table below.
Step
Action
1
Did VA receive the request before issuing a decision notice regarding the claim?
  • If yes, proceed to the next step.
  • If no,
    • use the Letter Creator tool or equivalent letter from PCGL to generate the Untimely Claim Withdrawal Notification Letter (located in the Intake Processing Center (IPC) letter menu)
    • send the letter to the claimant
    • clear an end product (EP) 400, and
    • take no further action.
2
Does the claimant wish to withdraw the claim in its entirety (all contentions associated with the claim)?

3.  Processing a Timely Received Request That VA Associates With the Claims Folder Before Issuing a Decision Notice


Introduction

This topic contains instructions for processing a timely received request for withdrawal of an initial claim that VA associates with the corresponding claims folder before issuing a decision notice, including

Change Date

December 8, 2016

III.ii.2.G.3.a.  Processing a Request for Withdrawal of a Claim in Its Entirety

Follow the instructions in the table below when
  • a claimant requests withdrawal of a claim in its entirety (all contentions associated with the claim), and
  • VA associates the request with the claims folder before it generates a decision notice regarding the claim.
Important:  When a claimant requests withdrawal of a claim that involves multiple contentions, the claimant should specify which (if not all) of the individual  contentions the request affects.  If the claimant fails to do so, proceed as if the request applies to all contentions associated with the claim.
Step
Action
1
Follow the instructions in M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, 2.G.3.c for notifying the claimant that he/she has successfully withdrawn his/her claim.
2
Is VA controlling the claim with an EP indicative of an original claim, such as an EP 110, 010, 140, 180, or 190?
  • If yes, proceed to the next step.
  • If no, clear the EP associated with the withdrawn claim, selecting Claim Withdrawn as the reason.  No further action is necessary.
3
Does the claimant already have a running award?
  • If yes,
    • change the EP to one indicative of a subsequentclaim, such as an EP 020 or 120 (an EP indicative of an original claim should not have been established if VA had already awarded benefits), and
    • clear the EP associated with the withdrawn claim, selecting Claim Withdrawn as the reason.  No further action is necessary.
  • If no, proceed to the next step.
Note:  If the actions described in the table below in Step 4 are taken  while an award is running, they will have the effect of stopping that  award.
4
Process the withdrawal through the claims-processing system, according to the instructions in the table below.
Step
Action
1
Click on the ADD button on the BASIC ELIGIBILITY screen.
2
Select Claim Withdrawn from the drop-down box for the DECISION field.
3
Enter the date VA received the request for withdrawal in the EVENT DATE field.
4
Click on the ACCEPT button.
5
Click on the OK button.
References:  For more information about

III.ii.2.G.3.b.  Processing a Request for Withdrawal of a Claim When the Request Does Not Apply to All Contentions

Follow the instructions in the table below when
  • a claimant requests withdrawal of a claim with multiple contentions
  • the claimant is not withdrawing the claim in its entirety and has differentiated between which contentions are still active and which contentions he/she wishes to withdraw, and
  • VA associates the request with the claims folder before it generates a decision notice regarding the claim.
Step
Action
1
Is VA processing the claim in a paperless environment?
  • If yes, proceed to the next step.
  • If no, proceed to Step 3.
2
  • Add the following text to the name of each contention listed in VBMS that the claimant withdrew: (withdrawn [Enter the month, day, and year VA received the request for withdrawal])
  • Proceed to Step 4.
Example:  back condition (withdrawn 05/22/2015)
Reference:  For more information about editing contentions in VBMS, see the VBMS User Guide.
3
Leave an annotation in the claims folder that reflects
  • the date VA received the request for withdrawal, and
  • the contentions to which the request for withdrawal apply.
4
Notify the claimant of the action taken by following the instructions inM21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, 2.G.3.c.
5
Complete all development actions that are necessary to make a decision on the contentions the claimant did not withdraw.
6
Make a decision on the contentions the claimant did not withdraw.
Important:  If a rating decision is required,
  • do not include the withdrawn contentions as issues in the rating decision
  • ensure the withdrawn contentions do not appear on theCodesheet of the rating decision as deferred issues, and
  • leave a note in the Special Notation box of the rating decision that
    • provides the date VA received the request for withdrawal, and
    • lists the contentions the claimant withdrew.
7
Follow the instructions in M21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 2.B for notifying the claimant of the decision.

III.ii.2.G.3.c.  Notifying a Claimant That VA Has Processed His/Her Request

After following the instructions contained in M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, 2.G.3.a orb,
  • use the Letter Creator tool or equivalent letter from PCGL to generate theWithdrawal of Claim Letter (located in the IPC letter menu),
  • send the letter to the claimant as notification that
    • VA has acted on the claimant’s request by cancelling his/her claim, and
    • VA may reverse the action it took only if the claimant asks VA to do so within 30 days.
Important:
  • If the claim involved multiple contentions, and the claimant differentiated between the contentions to which the request applies and the contentions to which the request does not apply, list the contentions to which the request applies in the Withdrawal of Claim Letter.
  • There is no requirement (or need) to inform a claimant of his/her appeal rights in a Withdrawal of Claim Letter.

4.  Processing a Retraction of a Request to Withdraw an Initial Claim


Change Date

May 6, 2016

III.ii.2.G.4.a.  Processing a Retraction of a Request to Withdraw a Claim

Follow the instructions in the table below upon receipt of a retraction of a request to withdraw a claim.
Step
Action
1
Did VA receive the retraction within 30 days of the date VA notified the claimant that it had acted on the claimant’s request to withdraw his/her claim?
  • If yes, proceed to the next step.
  • If no,
    • notify the claimant that VA could not execute the retraction because the claimant submitted it after the 30-day time limit referenced in this step, and
    • take no further action.
2
Did VA withdraw the claim based on a misinterpretation of communication from the claimant?
  • If yes,
    • reestablish the claim in the claims processing system, using EP 930 with a date of claim corresponding with the date of receipt of the originally received claim, and
    • proceed to Step 4.
  • If no, proceed to the next step.
3
Re-establish the claim in the claims-processing system, using the appropriate EP.  The EP will be re-established using the date of receipt of the originally received claim.
Important:  Do not establish an EP that is indicative of an original claim, such as an EP 110, 010, 140, 180, or 190, even if the claim that the claimant withdrew was an original claim.
Reference:  For more information about selecting an appropriate EP, see M21-4, Appendix B.
4
Complete any outstanding development actions.
5
Make a decision on the claim.
6
Follow the instructions in M21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 2.B for notifying the claimant of the decision.
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