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M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, Chapter 5, Section A – Jurisdiction Over Claims

Overview


In This Section

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

1.  Jurisdiction Over Claims for Veterans


Introduction

This topic contains information on jurisdiction over claims for Veterans, including

Change Date

August 23, 2018

III.ii.5.A.1.a.  General Policy for Jurisdiction Over Claims

The claim of a Veteran is generally assigned to the geographical area where the Veteran maintains a permanent address and is under the jurisdiction of a
  • regional office (RO), or
  • pension management center (PMC).
Notes:
  • Jurisdiction of a claim includes jurisdiction of the paper claims folder if one exists, unless instructions state otherwise.
  • An RO or PMC maintains jurisdiction for folders stored at the
    • Records Management Center, or
    • Federal Archives and Records Center.
  • Generally, a PMC will handle claims involving
    • pension benefits
    • claims for survivors benefits, and
    • accrued benefits.
References:  For more information on,

III.ii.5.A.1.b.  Jurisdiction of Claims Involving a Special Mission or Circumstance

The table below indicates what station has jurisdiction of a claim that involves a special mission or circumstance.
Special Mission or Circumstance
Jurisdiction
employee-Veteran, relative of employee, or a national service officer
restricted access claims centers (RACCs)
Reference:  For more information on RACCs, see M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, 4.A.4.e.
live compensation claims and legacy appeals involving
  • a foreign residence
  • residence in enemy territory, and
  • cases involving an Army Post Office or a Fleet Post Office address
Pittsburgh RO
Notes:
  • Jurisdiction is determined according to the Veteran’s residence, not the residence of a dependent.
  • A transient is not considered to be residing in a foreign country.
Exception:  When a Veteran files a claim for Chapter 18 benefits and the child lives in a foreign territory, the claim will be worked by the Pittsburgh RO.
Reference:  For more information on foreign residence, see M21-1, Part III, Subpart vi, 3.B.
live compensation claims, dual compensation and pension claims, and legacy appeals involving residence in a U.S. Territory
Jurisdiction for U.S. Territory compensation claims and legacy appeals is as follows:
  • Honolulu RO has jurisdiction of claims and legacy appeals for American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands (Rota, Saipan and Tinian)
  • Manila RO has jurisdiction of claims and legacy appeals for the Philippines, and
  • San Juan RO has jurisdiction of claims and legacy appeals for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
all initial claims involving the in-service death of the Veteran
Philadelphia RO
Reference:  For more information on in-service death claims, see M21-1, Part IV, Subpart iii, 1.B.3.
pension claims, survivor claims and legacy appeals for pension and survivor claims involving a foreign residence
The St. Paul PMC has jurisdiction of claims for:
  • Mexico
  • Central and South America, and
  • the Caribbean.
The Philadelphia PMC has jurisdiction for all other foreign countries.
Exception:  Philippine cases are processed by the Manila RO.
Reference:  For more information on PMC jurisdiction of non-foreign residence claims, see M21-1, Part V, Subpart iv, 1.2.b.
rating action related to Polish and Czechoslovakian Veterans who
  • file a claim for service connection (SC), or
  • apply for health care under 38 U.S.C. 109
Wilmington RO
Exception:  A claim from a Polish or Czechoslovakian Veteran with no service in the U.S. Armed Forces should be denied for no qualifying service by the RO that receives the claim.
Note:  The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) does not assign a folder or number to these claims.
Reference:  For more information, seeM21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, 5.A.2.c.
claims involving Public Law (PL) 97-37,Section 156, Restored Entitlement Program for Survivors (REPS)
Jurisdiction is split between
  • the various ROs or PMCs, and
  • a special processing unit at the St. Louis RO.
Note:  The office having jurisdiction of the deceased Veteran’s claims folder is responsible for determining basic eligibility and forwarding the claim (but not the deceased Veteran’s claims folder) to the St. Louis RO.
Reference:  For more information on jurisdiction of claims involving REPS, seeM21-1, Part IX, Subpart i, 6.A.5.c and d.
Philippine cases involving Veterans of the Commonwealth Army of the Philippines while such forces were in the
  • Armed Forces of the U.S. (July 26, 1941, through June 30, 1946)
  • Special Philippine Scouts (enlisted between October 6, 1945, and June 30, 1947), and
  • Alleged or Recognized Guerrilla Service (before July 1, 1946)
Manila RO has exclusive and permanent jurisdiction unless otherwise indicated.
Reference:  For more information on eligibility for benefits based on Philippine service, see M21-1, Part III, Subpart vi, 4.A.2.
cases involving incompetent Veterans
If a court has appointed a fiduciary for an incompetent Veteran, jurisdiction lies with the RO or PMC for the area in which the appointing court is located.
claims for SC based on radiation exposure where the existence of a radiogenic disease has been verified
Jackson RO
Exception:  Legacy appeals processing, including processing of remanded appeals, is conducted by the station of origination (SOO).
Reference:  For more information on
claims and legacy appeals for SC based on exposure to mustard gas or Lewisite
Muskogee RO
Reference:  For more information, seeM21-1, Part IV, Subpart ii, 1.F.2.
claims and legacy appeals for SC based on exposure to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune that meet specific criteria
Louisville RO
Reference:  For more information on the criteria determining jurisdiction of Camp Lejeune issues, see M21-1, Part IV, Subpart ii, 1.I.7.c.
forfeiture cases
Roanoke RO
Reference:  For more information about forfeiture cases, see
claims involving service department information classified as “Confidential”
Roanoke RO
Reference:  For more information about classified records, see M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, 5.A.2.a.
residents of the Armed Forces Retirement Home, or St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, D.C.
Roanoke RO
Reference:  For more information on claims from residents of the Armed Forces Retirement Home or St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., see M21-1, Part III, Subpart vi, 8.9.
Veterans with any service prior to July 16, 1903
Philadelphia PMC
  • entitlement to compensation under the former general law, the Act of 1862, as amended
  • protection of the general law rate provided by former PL 788, 74th Congress
  • entitlement to Reserve Officer’ Retirement Pay under PL 262, 77th Congress, and
  • entitlement under a special act of Congress authorizing payment to a particular person
Philadelphia PMC
References:  For more information on
Chapter 31 educational benefits based on service in allied forces
Philadelphia PMC
Chapter 18 benefits for certain children with disabilities born of Vietnam and certain Korean service Veterans
Denver RO
Exception:  When a Veteran files a claim for Chapter 18 benefits and the child lives in a foreign territory, the claim will be worked by the Pittsburgh RO.
Reference:  For more information on handling of claims for benefits under Chapter 18, see
Note:  Do not transfer a paper claims folder to a special mission station unless
  • a special mission claim has been established, or
  • instructions indicate the special mission station must maintain the folder.

III.ii.5.A.1.cDetermining Jurisdiction of Claims Involving Multiple Special Missions or Circumstances

The table below indicates what station has jurisdiction of a claim that involves multiple special missions or circumstances.
Special Mission(s) or Circumstances
Jurisdiction
  • Integrated Disability Evaluation System, along with
  • any other special mission
  • Providence RO, and
  • Seattle RO
Exception:  A RACC claim from an employee of the Providence RO would be handled by the Seattle RO and vice versa.
  • Benefits Delivery at Discharge, along with
  • any other special mission
The special mission RO.
  • C-123 aircraft, along with
  • one of the following special missions:
    • mustard gas
    • radiation
    • Camp Lejeune, or
    • VA Central Office (VACO) Special Issue 2
St. Paul RO
  • Camp Lejeune, along with
  • VACO Special Issue 2
Louisville RO
  • foreign, along with
  • one of the following special missions:
    • C-123 aircraft
    • mustard gas
    • radiation
    • Camp Lejeune, or
    • VACO Special Issue 2
Pittsburgh RO
  • mustard gas, along with
  • one of the following special missions:
    • radiation
    • Camp Lejeune, or
    • VACO Special Issue 2
Muskogee RO
  • radiation, along with
  • one of the following special missions:
    • Camp Lejeune, or
    • VACO Special Issue 2
Jackson RO
  • Manilla jurisdiction, along with
  • any other special mission
The special mission RO.  If translation or fraud issues need to be addressed, the special mission station will contact the National Work (NWQ) to have the claim transferred.
  • San Juan jurisdiction, along with
  • any other special mission
The special mission RO.  If translation is needed, the special mission station will contact NWQ to have the claim transferred.
  • RACC, along with
  • foreign
RACC
  • RACC, along with
  • Camp Lejeune
RACC
Exception:  A claim from an employee of the RACC would be handled by the Louisville RO.
  • RACC, along with
  • one of the following special missions:
    • C-123 aircraft, or
    • VACO Special Issue 2
RACC
Exception:  A claim from an employee of RACC would be handled by the Milwaukee RO.
  • RACC, along with
  • one of and the following special missions:
    • mustard gas, or
    • radiation
The special mission RO.
Exception:  A claim from an employee at the special mission RO would be handled by the RACC.
  • in-service death, along with
  • any other special mission
Philadelphia RO

2.  Special Handling Procedures for Certain Cases


Introduction

This topic contains information on the special handling of certain cases, including


Change Date

June 14, 2017

III.ii.5.A.2.a.  Procedures for Handling Cases Involving Classified Records

Classified records are claims involving service department information classified as “Confidential.”
The table below describes the process for handling classified records after
  • an award or denial is processed, and
  • the legacy appeal or decision review period expires.
Stage
Description
1
The Roanoke RO maintains the classified material in locked files.
2
File VA Form 3797, Cross Reference to Confidential Report, in the electronic claims folder (eFolder), or on the left side of the paper claims folder.
Note:  VA Form 3797 indicates the existence and location of the classified material.
3
If a paper folder exists, then permanently transfer to the SOO having jurisdiction over the Veteran’s place of residence.
4
If VA Form 3797 is in the paper claims folder, reverse-file above all other material at all times. Otherwise, upload VA Form 3797 in the eFolder.

III.ii.5.A.2.b.  Handling Receipt of VA Form 10-7131 for a Polish or Czechoslovakian Veteran who Served in the U.S. Armed Forces

Upon an RO’s receipt of VA Form 10-7131, Exchange of Beneficiary Information and Request for Administrative and Adjudicative Action, with no additional accompanying evidence, return the form to the requesting medical facility with instructions to provide medical evidence so that the RO may make a determination regarding entitlement.
The medical facility is responsible for fully developing the claim.  Once development is completed, a request is sent directly to the Medical Administration Service (MAS) (136) in the Wilmington Department of Veterans Affairs Medical and Regional Office Center who creates a special Polish-Czechoslovakian folder.
Note:  The Wilmington RO does not develop in these cases, and the Wilmington Veterans Service Center does not take action on a claim until
  • MAS (136) creates a special Polish-Czechoslovakian folder, and
  • development is complete.
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