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

Overview


In This Section

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

1.  Temporary Transfer of Claims Folders


Introduction

This topic contains information on the temporary transfer of claims folders, including


Change Date

September 14, 2018

III.ii.5.F.1.a.  Definition:  Temporary Transfer

In a temporary transfer, a regional office (RO) lends an electronic or paper claims folder to another Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facility for a limited length of time.

III.ii.5.F.1.b.  Retaining Jurisdiction During Temporary Transfer

In a temporary transfer, the
  • transferring office retains jurisdiction of the electronic or paper claims folder as the station of origination (SOO), and
  • receiving office accepts jurisdiction of the electronic or paper claims folder as the station of jurisdiction (SOJ).
Note:  If a paper claims folder exists, the receiving office should return it after its purpose has been fulfilled.

III.ii.5.F.1.c.  Claims Folder Review by PMCs in Pension Adjustments

A pension management center (PMC) may request that an office within its geographical jurisdiction transfer a paper claims folder in order to adjust a pension award.
After the PMC completes the adjustment, it determines whether to accept permanent jurisdiction of the claims folder or return it to the originating office.
Note:  If the PMC decides to return the claims folder, the RO must accept the PMC decision regarding permanent jurisdiction.
Reference:  For more information on PMC jurisdiction of claims folders, see M21-1, Part V, Subpart iv, 2.1.

III.ii.5.F.1.d.  Processing Temporary Transfers of Claims Folders With COVERS

For temporary transfers processed through the Control of Veterans Records System (COVERS), see the COVERS User Guide.

III.ii.5.F.1.e.  Procedure for Temporary Transfers of Paper Claims Folders

Follow the steps in the table below to temporarily transfer a paper claims folder.
Step
Action
1
Prepare the COVERS transfer slip.
2
Staple the original to the front of the folder.
3
  • Keep one copy for control and follow-up purposes.
  • Send one copy to the files activity for posting of the charge card.
  • Dispose of the unused copies.
4
Review the folder to determine if an end product (EP) and/or work item exists.
  • If yes,
    • review the EP and/or work item, and
    • go to Step 5.
  • If no, transfer the folder.
5
Can the EP and/or work item be worked?
  • If yes,
    • take any necessary actions, and
    • transfer the folder.
  • If no,
    • do not cancel the EP and/or work item, and
    • transfer the folder.

III.ii.5.F.1.f. Maintaining Control of Paper Claims Folders Temporarily Transferred Out

Local management sets suspense dates.  Generally, controls for paper claims folders are set for
  • six months for folders going to Central Office (CO), and
  • fourteen months for folders going to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA).
Other temporary transfers generally require a 30-day suspense date.

III.ii.5.F.1.g.  Handling Temporary Transfer Requests for Paper Claims Folders From the IOM

When the Board on the Health of Select Populations (BSP) of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) requests paper claims folders for review, establish a 90-day suspense date for
  • folders from the RO’s own file bank, and
  • folders recalled from a Federal records center for forwarding to the IOM.
Follow the steps in the table below if the claims folder is not returned within 90 days.
Step
Action
1
Call BSP at (202) 334-2825 and request the return of the claims folder.
2
  • Establish a 30-day local suspense, and
  • continue following up on the claims folder until it is returned.

III.ii.5.F.1.h.  When a Paper Claims Folder Is Temporarily Transferred to CO for Administrative or Other Consideration

Use the table below for information on the process that occurs when
  • paper claims folders are temporarily transferred to CO for administrative or other consideration, and
  • information requiring action is received.
If …
Then …
  • a paper claims folder is in CO for administrative or other consideration, other than on appeal, and
  • evidence or information is received that requires RO action, and
  • the action cannot be completed without the paper claims folder
  • the SOJ requests return of the claims folder from CO
  • CO refers the claims folder to the SOJ for necessary action and return, and
  • the RO
    • takes the action, and
    • returns the folder to CO for completion of the action that necessitated the transfer.
Notes:
a computer-generated work item necessitates reference to the claims folder for corrective action
the RO’s request should specify this, furnishing the numerical error code and message, and identifying the transaction involved.
 
Note:  This may permit CO to furnish the necessary documents for corrective action, avoiding the return of the claims folder to the RO.
 
Reference:  For more information on the types of guidance that may be requested from Compensation Service and P&F Service, see M21-1, Part III, Subpart vi, 1.A.1.

III.ii.5.F.1.i.  Handling Paper Claims Folders Returned From Temporary Transfer

Following receipt of a paper claims folder returned from a temporary transfer
  • file down the original copy of the COVERS transfer slip in the middle section of the claims folder and dispose of the control copy, and
  • use COVERS to update the location of the claims folder.

2.  Mail Received During a Temporary Transfer


Introduction

This topic contains information on mail received during a temporary transfer, including correspondence received

Change Date

September 14, 2018

III.ii.5.F.2.a.  Correspondence Received While a Paper Claims Folder Is Temporarily Transferred

Use the table below to determine the appropriate action to take following receipt of correspondence for a paper claims folder that has been temporarily transferred to another RO.
If the correspondence consists of …
Then …
evidence that is unrelated to the issue(s) for which the paper claims folder is transferred, and the evidence can be processed without the paper claims folder
  • upload the evidence to the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS), and
  • process the evidence electronically.
evidence that is unrelated to the issue(s) for which the paper claims folder is transferred, and the evidence cannot be processed without the paper claims folder
  • upload the evidence to VBMS, and
  • request the paper claims folder be returned from the SOJ.
evidence that is related to the issue(s) for which the paper claims folder is transferred
upload the evidence to VBMS for the SOJ to process with the paper claims folder.
a claim that can be processed without the paper claims folder
upload the claim to VBMS, and process the claim electronically.
a claim that cannot be processed without the paper claims folder
  • upload the evidence to VBMS, and
  • request the paper claims folder be returned from the SOJ.
 
References:  For more information on the procedures for

III.ii.5.F.2.b.  Correspondence Received During a Temporary Transfer for eFolders

When there is no paper claims folder and the Veteran’s record is completely electronic, only the claim is transferred to the SOJ in a temporary transfer.  The SOO retains jurisdiction of the electronic claims folder (eFolder).
Use the table below to determine the appropriate action to take following receipt of correspondence when an electronic claim has been temporarily transferred to another RO.
If the correspondence consists of …
Then …
evidence that is unrelated to the transferred claim
  • upload the evidence to VBMS, and
  • process the evidence locally.
evidence that is related to the transferred claim
upload the evidence to VBMS for the SOJ to process with the transferred claim.
a claim that cannot be controlled under the EP which has been temporarily transferred
  • upload the claim to VBMS, and
  • process the claim locally.
a claim that can be controlled under the EP which has been temporarily transferred
upload the claim to VBMS for the SOJ to process with the transferred claim.
 
References:  For more information on the procedures for

3.  Processing and Disposition of Folders in Litigated Cases


Introduction

This topic contains information about the processing and disposition of folders in litigated cases, including

Change Date

September 14, 2018

III.ii.5.F.3.a.  Cases Involving Benefits Payable by or to VA

Follow the steps in the table below to handle cases involving claims for benefits payable by or to VA.
Step
Action
1
  • Append the corporate flash Litigation Hold, and
  • appropriately label any paper claims folder to indicate that the case involves litigation.
Rationale:  The flash and/or label prevents adjudicative action on benefits in litigation without prior concurrence of the Office of General Counsel (OGC).
Reference:  For more information on appending a corporate flash using Share, see the Share User Guide.
2
Temporarily transfer the claim and/or paper claims folder
  • to OGC (02A1B), and
  • enter Litigated Case in the REMARKS field when initiating the transfer in COVERS.
Notes:
  • Transfers of litigated cases to other offices are temporary and subject to permanent assignment of jurisdiction.
  • Use Station 101 for transfers to CO, BVA, or OGC.

III.ii.5.F.3.b.  Guidelines for Handling Administrative Reconsideration Cases

VA may administratively reconsider a case either
  • at the request of the Department of Justice (DoJ), or
  • because of a pending claim other than that involved in the litigation.
If a suit is pending and VA will administratively reconsider the case, forward the claims folder and the DoJ files, as discussed in M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, 5.F.3.c, through OGC.

III.ii.5.F.3.c.  Handling Cases Involving Confidential Information

Follow the steps in the table below if the DoJ files contain confidential information that VA must return, including
  • reports, and
  • other material from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Step
Action
1
Carefully examine the DoJ files under the direction of the Veterans Service Center Manager or Pension Management Center Manager.
Note:  Make sure that persons other than the officials that are responsible for adjudicating the claim do not inspect or disclose the material that is in temporary custody of VA.
2
Review the evidence of record that has a bearing on the issue under the Veterans Service Center or PMC jurisdiction.
3
Follow the instructions in the table below for maintaining documents and papers that are deemed pertinent to the issue to be adjudicated.
If the claim …
Then …
is not being processed in VBMS
  • make photocopies ofonly documents and papers that are deemed pertinent to the issue to be adjudicated
  • certify the copies as true copies, and
  • place the copies in the claims folder.
is being processed in VBMS
  • upload electronic documents to the eFolder that are deemed pertinent to the issue to be adjudicated, or
  • make photocopies and ship to the appropriate scanning vendor.
Reference:  For more information on shipping mail to scanning vendors, see M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, 1.E.2.c.
 
Exception:  Do not make or retain copies of
  • FBI reports and material, and
  • immigration material.
4
When preparing an award or denial of benefits or an administrative decision,
  • make a notation to show that reports from another agency were considered in arriving at the conclusion, but
  • do not include any comment that would identify, either by name or other allusion, the witnesses who furnished confidential information to representatives of the FBI.
5
After completion of the necessary action, return the reports or other material of the FBI with the general files of the DoJ to OGC for transmittal to the DoJ.

III.ii.5.F.3.d.  Receiving the Claims Folder After a Court Determination

After a court determination in a case in which a lawsuit was filed, the claims folder is received from the DoJ through OGC.  OGC advises the RO of the determination and its effect upon the benefits involved.
If the RO deems it appropriate, it may request in any case that OGC provide copies of documents involved in the court proceedings.

III.ii.5.F.3.e.  Replies to Inquiries in Cases Not Involving Litigation

Replies to inquiries regarding cases that are not involved in litigation or do not require adjudicative action are prepared by Compensation Service.

4.  Temporary Transfer of Deceased Veterans’ Claims Folders for Special Issues


Introduction

This topic contains information about the temporary transfer of deceased Veterans’ claims folders to designated offices for handling special issues, including

Change Date

September 14, 2018

III.ii.5.F.4.a.  Jurisdiction Policy

Normally, if jurisdiction is established in an RO or PMC, that office handles all adjudicative actions.
Exception:  An office or center with jurisdiction over the geographical location of the claimant should not handle adjudicative actions over which exclusive jurisdiction is assigned for special issues identified in this chapter.
Reference:  For more information on special issues under exclusive jurisdiction of specific offices or centers, see M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, 5.A.

III.ii.5.F.4.b.  Statement of Reason for Transfer and Pending Claims

State the reason for transfer in
  • the REMARKS field when initiating the transfer in COVERS, and/or
  • VBMS or Modern Award Processing – Development notes.
Notes:
  • If the reason for transfer cannot be fully explained in the REMARKS field, use a letter of explanation and attach/upload it to the claims folder/eFolder.
  • When stating the reason for transfer, also identify any pending claims.

III.ii.5.F.4.c.  Temporary Transfers for Claims Involving Foreign Currency

Temporarily transfer a deceased Veterans’ claims folder to the Pittsburgh RO if
  • the purpose of the transfer is for the adjudication of claims for
    • reimbursement for burial, funeral, and transportation expenses, or
    • accrued amounts, and
  • the Veteran’s (or dependent’s) last illness and burial expenses
    • were paid, or are payable, in foreign currency, or
    • if rates of foreign exchange are involved in payment.
Exception:  For exceptions to Pittsburgh’s jurisdiction of some foreign cases, see the table in M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, 5.B.1.b.

III.ii.5.F.4.d.  Temporary Transfers for Expenses Erroneously Paid by VA

Temporarily transfer a deceased Veterans’ claims folder to the Philadelphia PMC if VA erroneously paid another Federal agency an allowance for
  • burial
  • funeral, or
  • transportation.
Rationale:  The purpose of the transfer is for VA to file a claim with another Federal agency.
Reference:  For more information on handling erroneous burial awards, see M21-1, Part VII, 1.C.1.

III.ii.5.F.4.e.  Temporary Transfers for Expenses Erroneously Paid by Another Agency

Temporarily transfer a deceased Veterans’ claims folder to the Philadelphia PMC if another Federal agency erroneously paid an allowance for
  • burial
  • funeral, or
  • transportation.
Rationale:  The purpose of the transfer is to dispose of a claim against VA by another Federal agency.
Reference:  For more information on handling erroneous burial awards, see M21-1, Part VII, 1.C.1.

III.ii.5.F.4.f.  Temporary Transfers for Adjusted Compensation

Temporarily transfer a deceased Veteran’s claims folder to the Philadelphia PMC for the settlement of a claim for adjusted compensation under the World War Adjusted Compensation Act.
Use the table below to determine the appropriate action.
If …
Then …
a claim for or inquiry pertaining to adjusted compensation is received
temporarily transfer the deceased Veteran’s claims folder to the Philadelphia PMC following completion of any action currently required on other pending issues.
Note:  The transfer is permanent if there is no running award.
VA made a complete reply to a previous inquiry
it is not necessary to transfer the folder for the purpose of a reply to an inquiry for the same information.
 
Reference:  For more information on adjusted compensation, see M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, 5.B.4.a.
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