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M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, Chapter 3, Section A – Assignment of Claims Folder Numbers

Overview


In This Section

This section contains the topic “Assignment of Claims Folder Numbers.”

1.  Assignment of Claims Folder Numbers


Introduction

This topic contains information about the assignment of claims folder numbers, including

Change Date

June 27, 2016

III.ii.3.A.1.a.  Responsibility for Records Management

The Administrative/Support Services Division has overall records management responsibility for paper claims folder creation, maintenance, and disposition.
Reference:  For more information on files and folder control, see M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, 4.A.

III.ii.3.A.1.b.  Associating Records With a Claims Folder Number

Associate the records for all claimants and beneficiaries to a claims folder number.  There are two types of claims folder numbers used by the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) based on
  • the Veteran’s Social Security number (SSN), or
  • an eight-digit claims folder number assigned through the Beneficiary Identification and Records Locator Subsystem (BIRLS).
Use the table below to determine the type of claims folder number to assign.
For original applications from …
The claims folder number is based on …
Veterans with an established SSN
the SSN.
  • Philippine nationals, and
  • other Veterans without an established SSN
BIRLS assignment.
Reference:  For more information on establishing a claims folder number using BIRLS, see

III.ii.3.A.1.c.  When to Assign a Claims Folder Number

All documents received by VBA with identifying personal information require association with a claims folder number regardless of the need for claims establishment or confirmation of Veteran status.
Important:  To avoid duplicate claim (DUPC) processing, conduct a thorough search of all systems for a previously established claims folder number as outlined in M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, 3.A.1.d.

III.ii.3.A.1.d.Checking for a Previously Established or Duplicate Claims Folder Number

The table below provides guidance on checking for the existence of a previously established or duplicate claims folder number.
Step
Action
1
Was an eight-digit BIRLS generated claims folder number (previously called a C file number) provided on the correspondence?
  • If yes, go to the next step.
  • If no, go to Step 6.
2
  • Select Share BIRLS INQUIRY
  • enter the BIRLS generated claims folder number in the FILE NUMBER/SSN field, and
  • SUBMIT.
Was a record found?
  • If yes, go to the next step.
  • If no, go to Step 7.
3
Does the BIRLS record contain an SSN?
  • If yes, go to the next step.
  • If no, go to Step 6.
4
Does the SSN match the one provided in the correspondence?
  • If yes, go to Step 7.
  • If no, go to next step.
5
Use the SSN found in the BIRLS inquiry for a Share SEARCH ALL IN LIST inquiry.
Does the SSN pull up a different Veteran/claimant’s record?
  • If yes,
    • investigate the discrepancy between the two veterans’ records (e.g. digits incorrect in SSN, etc.) and make corrections using BIRLS UPDATE, or
    • if the information in the two different records (one under SSN and one under BIRLS generated claims file number) appears to be for the same Veteran, consider doing a records consolidation, and
    • go to Step 17.
  • If no,
    • add the SSN to the Veteran’s BIRLS record using BIRLS UPDATE, and
    • go to Step 17.
Reference:  For more information on records consolidation (BDN DUPC), see M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, 4.E.1.
6
Was an SSN or service number provided on the correspondence?
  • If yes, proceed to Step 7.
  • If no, proceed to Step 8.
7
In Share, complete the SEARCH ALL IN LIST command to verify the claimant has an established BIRLS and corporate record.
Does the claimant have both a BIRLS and corporate record?
  • If yes, associate all correspondence with the identified claims folder.
  • If no, refer to the table below.
If the claimant is missing a …
Then …
BIRLS record, but has a corporate record
review the ALL RELATIONSHIPS tab in the CORPORATE record.
  • If the correspondence is from a dependent without military service, associate the documents with the Veteran’s claims folder.
  • If the correspondence is from a dependent with military service and is now seeking benefits based on their service
    • execute a BIRLS ADD command, and
    • associate all mail to the newly established claims folder number.
corporate record, but has a BIRLS record
proceed to Step 13.
corporate and BIRLs record
proceed to the next step.
Note:  Always search using the Veteran’s service number when available.
Reference:  For more information on the SEARCH ALL IN LIST and BIRLS ADD commands, see the Share User’s Guide.
8
Using Share, complete a BIRLS INQUIRY command using the following combinations of available information:
  • service number (also try SSN as service number)
  • first name/last name, and
  • first name/middle initial/last name.
Example:
Screen shot for a BIRLS INQUIRY command
Do the results show an existing claims folder number?
  • If yes, proceed to Step 17.
  • If no, proceed to the next step.
Important:  Clear all information from the fields from the previous action prior to moving to the next search.
Note:  If multiple records are returned, attempt to identify the correct claimant by the corresponding
  • date of birth (DOB), and
  • active duty service dates.
Reference:  For more information on the BIRLS INQUIRY command see the Share User’s Guide.
9
Using Share, select the CORPORATE INQUIRY command and conduct a PERSON SEARCH using the claimant’s
  • first name
  • middle name
  • last name
  • DOB, or
  • city.
Example:
Screen shot of CORPORATE INQUIRY command and conduct a PERSON SEARCH
Do the results show an existing claims folder number?
  • If yes, proceed to Step 17.
  • If no, proceed to the next step.
Note:  Participant Profile includes a more robust PERSON SEARCH option, including the functions of the COPORATE INQUIRY command and the ability to filter on the claimants
  • exact matches on name, and
  • live cases only.
Reference:  For more information on the CORPORATE INQUIRY command see the Share User’s Guide.
10
Does the correspondence include a(n)
  • insurance file number
  • current domestic phone number
  • home loan number, or
  • tax identification number?
  • If yes, proceed to the next step.
  • If no, proceed to Step 12.
11
Conduct a NUMBER SEARCH in Participant Profile using the information identified in Step 10.
Example:
Screen shot of NUMBER SEARCH in Participant Profile using the information identified in Step 10
Do the results show an existing claims folder number?
  • If yes, proceed to Step 17.
  • If no, proceed to the next step.
12
Using COVERS, select the NAME/SSN INQ command and search by the claimants name for a claims folder under local regional office (RO) control.
Example:
Do the results show an existing claims folder number?
  • If yes, proceed to Step 17.
  • If no, proceed to the next step.
Reference:  For more information on using the NAME/SSN INQ command, see the COVERS User Guide.
13
The minimum information needed to establish a corporate record is listed below.
  • SSN and/or claims folder number
  • first name
  • last name, and
  • DOB.
Is this information available?
  • If yes, proceed to Step 17.
  • If no, proceed to the next step.
Exception:  If the correspondence includes an intent to file (ITF) and no address is provided, use the search options found in Steps 14 and 15 to obtain an address.
14
Conduct a search in the Compensation and Pension Record Interchange (CAPRI) by selecting the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical center with jurisdiction over the Veteran’s address. Use the PATIENT SELECTOR function to search for the claimant using the methods in the table below.
Method
Example
Last name
Veteran
Last name, first name
Veteran, Joe
Last name, first name, and middle initial
Veteran, Joe N
First initial of last name and last four of SSN
V6789
SSN
123456789
Example:
Screen shot of PATIENT SELECTOR function to search for the claimant
Did the search provide the minimum information needed to establish a corporate record?
  • If yes, proceed to Step 17.
  • If no, proceed to the next step.
Reference:  For more information on CAPRI search functions, see theCAPRI User Manual.
15
If contact information is available, attempt to contact the claimant to obtain the needed information to establish a corporate record.
Was the needed information obtained?
  • If yes, proceed to Step 17.
  • If no, proceed to the next step.
Note:  If no contact information is available proceed to the next step.
16
Coordinate with users who have access to non-VA systems, such as
  • CLEAR
  • DFAS- Retired and Casualty Pay System (RCPS), and
  • Federal On-line Query (FOLQ), accessed through the SSA INQUIRY command in Share.
Did the search of non-VA systems provide the minimum information necessary to establish a corporate record?
  • If yes, proceed to the next step.
  • If no, follow
    • military mail procedures, if processing paper mail, or
    • unidentifiable mail procedures, if processing electronic mail in the Centralized Mail (CM) portal.
References:  For more information on
17
Check to ensure the claimant has both a BIRLS and corporate record using the SEARCH ALL IN LIST command in Share.
Does the claimant have both a BIRLS and corporate record?
  • If yes, associate all correspondence with the claims folder.
  • If no, use the guidance in the table below.
If the claimant …
Then …
already has a BIRLS record
  • complete the BIRLS UPDATE command to establish a corporate record, and
  • associate all correspondence with the claims folder.
does not have a BIRLS record
  • complete the BIRLS ADD command, which also establishes a corporate record, and
  • associate all correspondence with the claims folder.
Exception:  If correspondence requires claims establishment in the Share application use the CLAIMS ESTABLISHMENT C+P command, which includes the BIRLS ADD process.
Note:  If the Veteran reports that his/her SSN has been changed, a search using the old SSN must be completed.
References:  For more information on

III.ii.3.A.1.e.  Alternative Method to Check for a Previously Established Claims Folder Number

Using the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS), select the More Search Options hyperlink to do an advanced search based on the Veteran’s first and last name.  Sort the results by date of birth and analyze for a match.
Important:  Use of this method to look for a previously established claims folder number is expedient.  However, it is not a conclusive search.  Before conducting a BIRLS ADD in Share, follow all search guidance in M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, 3.A.1.d to avoid creating a DUPC.

III.ii.3.A.1.f.  Assignment of a Claims Folder Number

Establishing claims folders numbers occurs in Share using any of the three following commands:
  • CLAIMS ESTABLISHMENT C+P
  • FIRST NOTICE OF DEATH, and
  • BIRLS ADD.
The table below provides guidance regarding which command to use in certain circumstances.
If the correspondence …
Use the …
  • requires claims establishment, and
  • establishment occurs in Share
CLAIMS ESTABLISHMENT C+P command.
  • requires claims establishment, and
  • establishment occurs in VBMS
BIRLS ADD command.
is a notice of death
FIRST NOTICE OF DEATH command.
does not require claims establishment
BIRLS ADD command.
Note:  Each of the Share commands used to establish claims folder numbers allows for selection of either a SSN or BIRLS generated claims folder number on the VID screen.  In the ASSIGN FILE NUMBER AS field, select SSN or CLAIM for a BIRLS generated eight-digit claim number as appropriate.
References:  For more information on the

III.ii.3.A.1.g.  Guidelines for Forwarding Applications

VA requires forwarding of certain types of applications to another RO for

  • claims involving special issues with exclusive jurisdiction, and
  • claims involving foreign residency.

References:  For more information on

6-27-16_Key-Changes_M21-1III_ii_3_SecA.docx May 11, 2019 112 KB
Change-June-16-2015-Transmittal-Sheet-M21-1III_ii_3_SecA_TS.docx May 11, 2019 40 KB
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