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M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, Chapter 5, Section D – Permanent Transfer of Claims Folders


In This Section

This section contains the following topics:
Topic Name

1.  General Policies for Permanent Transfer of Claims Folders


This topic contains information about the general policies for permanent transfer of claims folders, including

Change Date

February 19, 2019

III.ii.5.D.1.a.  Conditions for Permanent Transfer of Claims Folders

Regional offices (ROs) should not transfer cases of any type, including, but not limited to, rating, non-rating, legacy appeals, work items, and claims received in Centralized Mail, to another RO’s jurisdiction based solely on where the Veteran resides unless directed otherwise by the Office of Field Operations (OFO).
Exceptions:  Permanently transfer claims folders under any of the following conditions:
  • exclusive jurisdiction resides with an office or center designated to handle certain special issues or special missions, as described in
  • a claimant files a claim, has a decision on a claim pending, or has a pending legacy appeal, and moves to or resides at a location with an Army Post Office or Fleet Post Office, indicating the Veteran resides outside of the U.S. and its territories, in which case
    • the Pittsburgh RO assumes permanent jurisdiction of the pending claim/legacy appeal, and
    • exclusive jurisdiction of the claims folder resides with the Pittsburgh RO
  • the beneficiary resides outside of the U.S. and its territories, and the necessary action involves a pension or survivors benefit determination, in which case jurisdiction resides with the
    • St. Paul Pension Management Center (PMC) for beneficiaries residing in
      • Mexico
      • Central and South America, and
      • the Caribbean, or
    • Philadelphia PMC for all other foreign countries
  • the Veteran resides in the Philippines or the Veteran’s claim is based on service with the Commonwealth Army of the Philippines, Special Philippines Scouts, or alleged or recognized guerillas, in which case exclusive jurisdiction resides with the Manila RO
  • a pending claim or legacy appeal requires a personal hearing
  • a claim or legacy appeal is pending for a homeless Veteran
  • another office requires the claims folder for litigation involving insurance benefits, or
  • Central Office reassigns jurisdiction.


  • Do not routinely permanently transfer claims folders from the station of jurisdiction when the claim has been redistributed from the station of origination (SOO) as part of a national workload redistribution strategy.
  • If an RO receives a claim, legacy appeal, or request for review of a prior decision over which it will retain jurisdiction, but another RO has custody of the corresponding paper claims folder, the RO that is retaining jurisdiction must request permanent transfer of the folder through the Control of Veterans Records System (COVERS).  If the pending work is subject to National Work Queue routing, the RO must also add theRequested Claim Folder tracked item.
  • Any resulting end products (EPs) from working and/or clearing work items must be retained at the RO in which the work item was assigned.

References:  For more information on

III.ii.5.D.1.b.  Sending Paper Claims Folders to Authorized Scanning Facilities

Paper claims folders should not be sent to any location other than an authorized scanning facility, unless otherwise directed by OFO.  This includes shipment for

  • Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) examinations, and
  • service treatment records for Integrated Disability Evaluation System/Benefits Delivery at Discharge claims, which have already been scanned into the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS).

Exceptions:  Paper claims folders may be shipped to other locations, with a reason and applicable tracking number documented in VBMS notes, in the following scenarios:

  • the claimant is eligible for priority claims processing
  • the shipment of a paper claims folder will result in significantly expedited claims resolution
  • the folder is a pension-related claims folder
  • the folder is a deceased-Veteran claims folder shipped to the Records Management Center, which is not eligible for relocation
  • the folder pertains to a Nehmer claim that requires shipment to
    • QTC, or
    • the Office of General Counsel (OGC), or
  • claims folders requested and bound by short timelines for review by
    • the Board of Veterans Appeals
    • the Office of Inspector General
    • OGC
    • Compensation Service Program Review Staff (214B), or
    • other entities requiring review of the claims folder.

Note:  Use of the COVERS application is required for controlling the physical location of a paper claims folder within an RO and/or for jurisdictional updates not possible through other applications.

References:  For more information on

III.ii.5.D.1.c.  Records to Accompany Claims Folders Whenever Transferring

When transferring a claims folder, also transfer the following records, as appropriate:
  • all records in the calendar suspense file, and
  • fiscal records, if indicated.
Note:  Notify the local Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment office to determine if it is necessary to transfer the Counseling/Evaluation/Rehabilitation folder.
Reference:  For more information on jurisdiction of education and rehabilitation claims and folders, see

III.ii.5.D.1.d.  Permanent Transfer of Claims Folders for Insurance Purposes

Permanently transfer the claims folder to the Veterans Service Center (VSC) of the Philadelphia RO and Insurance Center (ROIC) following receipt of a request from an insurance center for a determination that has not been made.
Note:  Any concurrent adjudicative issues are now under the jurisdiction of the Philadelphia ROIC VSC.

III.ii.5.D.1.e.  Permanent Transfer of Employee-Veteran Claims Folders to RACCs

In most cases, restricted access claims centers (RACCs) have jurisdiction for active employee-Veteran claims folders and related VA records.
Use the table below to determine the appropriate timing for permanently transferring a claims folder to a RACC.
If …
Then permanently transfer the claims folder …
  • the claims folder has a sensitivity level of 7, 8, or 9, and
  • there is no claim or legacy appeal pending
without waiting for another reason to initiate a transfer.
  • the claims folder has a sensitivity level of 6, 7, 8, or 9
  • there is a claim pending that VA received on or after January 1, 2012, and
  • there is no legacy appeal pending
to the appropriate RACC for processing of the claim.
  • the claims folder has a sensitivity level of 7, 8, or 9, and
  • there is a claim or legacy appeal pending that VA received prior to January 1, 2012
following resolution of the claim or legacy appeal.
  • the claims folder has a sensitivity level of 6, and
  • there is no claim or legacy appeal pending
following receipt of a claim or legacy appeal.
  • See M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, 4.A.4 for more information on
    • claims folders that must be transferred to a RACC
    • excluded claims folders that are not eligible for transfer to a RACC
    • RACC locations and jurisdictions, and
    • identifying sensitive claims folders.
  • See M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, 1.C.6 for more information on screening and processing restricted-access mail.

III.ii.5.D.1.f.  Permanent Transfer of Claims Folders With a Court-Appointed Fiduciary

If a court appoints a fiduciary for an incompetent or preferred beneficiary, jurisdiction resides with the RO which has responsibility for the area where the beneficiary resides.

2.  Permanent Transfer of Classified Records


This topic contains information on classified records, including

Change Date

July 16, 2015

III.ii.5.D.2.a.  Policy for Transfer of Claims Folders With Confidential Records

Claims that involve material classified as confidential are processed by the Roanoke RO.  Claims folders containing confidential material may be permanently transferred to the SOO from the Roanoke RO after the

  • processing of an award or denial, and
  • expiration of the decision review period.


  • The confidential material is not returned to the SOO with the claims folder, but maintained at the Roanoke RO in the locked files.
  • Reverse file VA Form 3797, Cross Reference to Confidential Report, on the inside left flap of the claims folder to identify the existence of confidential records stored at the Roanoke RO.

III.ii.5.D.2.b.  Transfer of Material Classified as for Official Use Only

Any material in a claims folder classified as For Official Use Only, remains in the claims folder.
If the claims folder is transferred, the material classified For Official Use Onlytransfers along with the claims folder.
Historical_M21-1III_ii_5_SecD_5-30-17.doc May 11, 2019 86 KB
Historical_M21-1III_ii_5_SecD_7-16-15.doc May 11, 2019 83 KB
2-19-19_Key-Changes_M21-1III_ii_5_SecD.docx May 11, 2019 47 KB
Change-July-16-2015-Transmittal-Sheet-M21-1III_ii_5_SecD_TS.docx May 11, 2019 43 KB
5-30-17_Key-Changes_M21-1III_ii_5_SecD.docx May 11, 2019 49 KB
Transmittal-Sheet-09_02_10.doc May 11, 2019 112 KB
Historical_M21-1MRIII_ii_5_Sec-D_9-19-2014.docx May 11, 2019 54 KB
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