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M21-1, Part III, Subpart iii, Chapter 2, Section E – Unique Claims and Situations That Require Special Handling

Overview


In This Section

 
This section contains the following topics:
Topic
Topic Name
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8

1 Records Destroyed by Fire at NPRC

 


Introduction

 
This topic contains information about the impact of the fire at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) on claims processing, including

Change Date

 
March 1, 2019

III.iii.2.E.1.a.Records Destroyed in the Fire at NPRC

 
On July 12, 1973, a fire at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis destroyed approximately
  • 80 percent of the records NPRC held for Veterans who were discharged from the Army between
    • November 1, 1912, and
    • January 1, 1960, and
  • 75 percent of the records NPRC held for Veterans
    • with surnames beginning (alphabetically) with Hubbard and running through the end of the alphabet, and
    • who were discharged from the Air Force between
      • September 25, 1947, and
      • January 1, 1964.
Exceptions:  Records for retirees and reservists who were alive on July 12, 1973, were not involved in the fire.

III.iii.2.E.1.b.Requesting Reconstruction of a Veteran’s Medical Records

 
Follow the instructions in the table below if it appears the fire at NPRC might have destroyed medical records pertinent to a pending claim.
Step
Action
1
Submit a request for the Veteran’s service treatment records (STRs) to NPRC through the Personnel Information Exchange System (PIES), using the request codes identified in the table below.
If the pending claim …
Then use request code …
will be processed in the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS)
O50.
Exception:  Disregard the instructions in this step if, at some point in the past, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) submitted and received a response to a PIES request under request code O50.
will not be processed in VBMS
M01.
2
Send a letter to the claimant simultaneously with submitting the PIES request, if one is being submitted.  The letter must ask the claimant to
Rationale:  If NPRC responds to the request by stating that fire destroyed the Veteran’s records, the regional office (RO) uses information from the completed NA Form 13055 to submit a request to NPRC through PIES for reconstruction of the Veteran’s records, using request code
  • M05-V (if the corresponding claim is being processed in VBMS), or
  • M05 (if the corresponding claim is not being processed in VBMS).
Important:  When asking a claimant to complete NA Form 13055, avoid giving the impression VA is less likely to grant his/her claim because the fire at NPRC destroyed his/her records.
 
Important:  The NA Form 13055 is used to attempt to reconstruct the Veteran’s medical record based on the disability(ies) and treatment identified on the form.  AnNA Form 13055 should be sent for completion any time a claimant with potentially fire-related records submits a claim for service connection (SC) for a new disability, or SC for a disability for which VA previously denied SC, when the
  • claimant has not returned an NA Form 13055 which provides details about the in-service injury/treatment, or
  • information provided was not sufficient to submit a request to NPRC to reconstruct the medical records.
Exception:  If the information NPRC requires to process a request under request code M05 or M05-V is already of record in the Veteran’s claims folder, submit the request without taking the actions described in Steps 1 and 2.
References:  For more information about

III.iii.2.E.1.c.Action to Take When a Claimant Fails to Return a Completed NA Form 13055

 
Follow the instructions in the table below if a claimant
If …
Then …
  • the claimant furnishes an incomplete NA Form 13055and
  • there is insufficient information of record to complete the fields in PIES for submission of a request for reconstruction of the Veteran’s record (under request code M05 or M05-V).
attempt to contact the claimant by telephone to obtain the missing information.
  • If attempts to obtain the missing information by telephone are unsuccessful,
    • send a written request to the claimant for the missing information, and
    • give the claimant 30 days to respond.
  • Refer the claim to the rating activity for a decision based on the evidence of record if
    • development action is otherwise complete, and
    • the claimant
      • is unable to provide the missing information, or
      • fails to respond to the written request within 30 days.
Notes:
  • Document telephone contact with the claimant on VA Form 27-0820, Report of General Information.
  • During the phone call, if the claimant indicates he/she does not have the information requested and will not be able to recall or respond to a written letter, consider the statement a waiver and document accordingly on VA Form 27-0820.  If the claimant is unwilling to or cannot provide the information over the phone at the time of the phone call, send a written request.
the claimant fails to return NA Form 13055 within 30 days
refer the claim to the rating activity for a decision based on the evidence of record if development action is otherwise complete.
 
Notes:
  • If the rating activity is unable to grant a claim because the claimant failed to return a completed NA Form 13055,
    • include information regarding how to obtain NA Form 13055 in the rating decision narrative and decision notice, and
    • explain to the claimant that further attempts to obtain the missing records cannot be undertaken without the completed form.
  • If the evidence of record indicates there is a legal bar to benefits, such as a dishonorable discharge,
    • deny the claim on that basis, and
    • do not
      • ask the claimant to complete NA Form 13055, or
      • prepare a memorandum of service record unavailability.
  • A final notification letter is not required if VA does not receive enough information to request reconstruction of the records.
Reference:  For information on legal bars to benefits, see M21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 1.B.

III.iii.2.E.1.d.Handling Negative Replies to PIES Requests Submitted Under Request Code M05 and M05-V

The claims processor must take the actions described in M21-1, Part III, Subpart iii, 1.C.1.e if
  • a claimant returns a completed NA Form 13055
  • VA uses information from the form to submit a PIES request under request code
    • M05-V (if the corresponding claim is being processed in VBMS), or
    • M05 (if the corresponding claim is not being processed in VBMS), and
  • NPRC provides a negative response to the request.
Unless the claimant responds by providing the missing records or providing information that justifies the undertaking of additional development to obtain them, decide his/her claim based on the evidence of record after all other development actions are complete.

III.iii.2.E.1.e.  Requesting Reconstruction of a Veteran’s Military Service Records 

NPRC may be able to verify details of a claimant’s military service, commonly found in the personnel records, even if the personnel records were destroyed in the fire.  The required information is collected on NA Form 13075, Questionnaire About Military Service.
Follow the steps in the table below if it appears the fire at NPRC might have destroyed the service records and the claimant’s military service information (including stressor details) has not been verified by VA.
Step
Action
1
Determine if a PIES request
  • for medical (M series) or service records (O series) has ever been submitted, and
  • if the response has indicated the records are fire-related.
If a records request has …
Then …
  • previously been submitted, and
  • the response indicated the records are fire-related
  • do not attempt to submit a PIES request at this time, and
  • proceed to the next step.
  • previously been submitted, and
  • records were received
submit a PIES request under request code O50.
Exception:  Do not submit the request if VA has previously submitted and received a response under request code O50.
never been submitted
submit a PIES request under request code O50.
Important:  Pension management centers should continue to use request code S01 in lieu of request code O50.
2
Send a letter to the claimant simultaneously with submitting the PIES request, if one is being submitted.   The letter should ask the claimant to
  • complete NA Form 13075
  • provide copies of any discharge documents, military orders, or military award documents, and
  • return the form and evidence within 30 days.
Rationale:  If NPRC responds to or has responded to a request by stating that fire destroyed the Veteran’s records, the RO uses information from the completed NA Form 13075 to submit a request to NPRC through PIES for reconstruction of the service records using
  • S02-V (if the corresponding claim is being processed in VBMS), or
  • S02 (if the corresponding claim is not being processed in VBMS).

III.iii.2.E.1.f.  Action to Take When a Claimant Fails to Return a Completed NA Form 13075

Follow the instructions in the table below if a claimant
If the claimant …
Then attempt to …
  • furnishes an  incomplete NA Form 13075and
  • there is insufficient information of record to complete the fields in PIES for submission of a request for reconstruction of the Veteran’s record (under request code S02 or S02-V)
contact the claimant by telephone to obtain the missing information.  If attempts to obtain the missing information by telephone are unsuccessful,
  • send a written request to the claimant for the missing information, and
  • give the claimant 30 days to respond.
Notes:
  • Document telephone contact with the claimant on VA Form 27-0820.
  • During the phone call, if the claimant indicates he/she does not have the information requested and will not be able to recall or respond to a written letter, consider the statement a waiver and document accordingly on VA Form 27-0820.  If the claimant is unwilling to or cannot provide the information over the phone at the time of the phone call, send a written request.
fails to return NA Form 13075within 30 days
verify
 
Note:  A final notification letter is not required if VA does not receive enough information to request reconstruction of the records.

III.iii.2.E.1.g.  Handling Negative Replies to PIES Requests Submitted Under Request Code S02 and S02-V

The claims processor must prepare and send a final notification letter to a claimant when
  • the claimant returns a completed NA Form 13075 or the claims folder contains information sufficient to substitute for the form
  • VA uses information from the form to submit a PIES request under request code
    • S02-V (if the corresponding claim is being processed in VBMS), or
    • S02 (if the corresponding claim is not being processed in VBMS), and
  • NPRC provides a negative response to the request.
Reference:  For more information on sending a final notification letter to a claimant, see M21-1, Part III, Subpart iii, 1.C.1.e.

III.iii.2.E.1.h.  Completing a Formal Finding When Attempts to Verify Service Are Unsuccessful

 A formal finding should be completed by the Military Records Specialist (MRS) when
  • an original or certified copy of a discharge document cannot be obtained
  • a negative response from NPRC has been received, or a request could not be submitted
  • the Veterans Information Solution and VA/Department of Defense Identity Repository do not contain service information
  • service information cannot be verified from alternate sources
  • a final notification letter has been sent to the claimant (if applicable), and
  • the evidence the claimant has submitted is not a certified document.
Note:  When referring a case to an MRS for completion of the formal finding referenced in this block, add Specialized Records Request as a special issue.
References:  For more information on

III.iii.2.E.1.iCompleting a Formal Finding on Evidence of Service in the Absence of Other Official Documentation

  • all attempts to verify service
  • the evidence containing military service information that is being considered, and
  • a decision on whether the evidence will be accepted as verification of service in absence of other official documentation.
Note:  A second signature is not required on the formal finding.

2.  Evidence That Supplements or Substitutes for STRs

 


Introduction

 
This topic contains information about evidence that supplements or substitutes for STRs, including

Change Date

 
February 6, 2012

III.iii.2.E.2.a.Reasons VA Does Not Rely Exclusively on STRs to Decide Claims

 
For reasons that include the following, VA does not rely exclusively on STRs when deciding a Veteran’s claim:
  • the loss of many Veterans’ STRs in a fire at NPRC in 1973, and
  • the absence of documentation in most STRs of treatment by private health care providers during service or shortly after separation.
Reference:  For information about service records that the fire at NPRC destroyed, see M21-1, Part III, Subpart iii, 2.E.1.

III.iii.2.E.2.b.Types of Evidence VA May Use To Supplement or as a Substitute for STRs

The various types of evidence VA may use to supplement or substitute for STRs include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • statements from service medical personnel
  • certified “buddy” statements or affidavits
  • accident and police reports
  • employment-related examination reports
  • medical evidence from civilian/private hospitals, clinics, and physicians that treated the Veteran during service or shortly after separation
  • letters written during service
  • photographs taken during service
  • pharmacy prescription records, and/or
  • insurance-related examination reports.
Note:  Photocopies of STRs are acceptable for rating purposes if examination of the copies confirms they are genuine and free from alteration.
References:  For more information on

3.  Extracts From Army SGO Records 

 


Introduction

This topic contains information on extracts from Army SGO records, including

Change Date

 
March 1, 2019

III.iii.2.E.3.a.Origin of the Extracts From SGO Records

 
In 1988, the National Research Council, a private research organization, provided NPRC with extracts from approximately ten million military hospital admission records in the custody of the Army Surgeon General’s Office (SGO).  Numerical data in the extracts required decoding, which NPRC completed May 18, 1990.

III.iii.2.E.3.b.Veterans for Whom an SGO Extract May Exist

Extracts from the SGO records primarily contain information about the hospitalization of active-duty Army and Air Corps personnel at Army facilities for combat-related injuries sustained during
  • World War II (WWII) (primarily 1942 to 1945), and
  • the Korean Conflict (primarily 1950 to 1954).

A small percentage of the extracts contains information about the treatment of personnel

  • from other branches of service, to include military cadets (during the Korean Conflict only), and
  • at Air Force, Navy, and civilian facilities.

III.iii.2.E.3.c.Limitations and Use of Extracts From SGO Records

 
Extracts from the SGO records contain very little detail.  VA primarily uses them only when the STRs of a Veteran with service during WWII or the Korean Conflict
  • are obviously incomplete, or
  • were destroyed by the fire at NPRC in 1973.

Reference:  For more information about service records destroyed by the fire at NPRC, see M21-1. Part III, Subpart iii, 2.E.1.


III.iii.2.E.3.d.Details Contained in the SGO Extracts

Extracts from SGO records contain the following information:
  • up to three diagnoses for the period of hospitalization
  • area or part of the body affected
  • operative procedure, if undertaken, for each diagnosis
  • total number of days hospitalized
  • type of facility where treatment took place
  • month and year of admission and discharge, and
  • disposition of the service member following discharge from the hospital.
Important:  Extracts from records dated 1944 and 1945 also contain the following:
  • circumstances leading to hospitalization, and
  • line-of-duty determinations.

III.iii.2.E.3.e.Determining Whether NPRC Previously Searched for SGO Extracts for a Specific Veteran

 
If NPRC responded to a VA request for STRs
  • after May 18, 1990, assume NPRC included copies of any existing extracts in its response, or
  • prior to May 18, 1990, and the fire in 1973 at NPRC might have destroyed the Veteran’s service records, submit a new PIES request using request code
    • M06-V (if the corresponding claim is being processed in VBMS), or
    • M06 (if the corresponding claim is not being processed in VBMS).
Note:  May 18, 1990, represents the date NPRC finished decoding information contained in the extracts.
References:  For more information about

III.iii.2.E.3.f.When to Submit a Request for Copies of Extracts

 
Submit a request to NPRC through PIES for copies of extracts from SGO records if the evidence of record suggests the Veteran was hospitalized during service
  • as early as 1940, or
  • as late as 1958.
Important:  Extracts from SGO records are identified by the patient’s service number rather than the patient’s name.  It is for this reason that requests for copies of extracts from NPRC must include the Veteran’s service number.
Note:  NPRC will search for any extracts under the Veteran’s service number, regardless of the date VA indicates the Veteran was treated.
References:  For information about controlling and following up on requests for records from NPRC, see M21-1, Part III, Subpart iii, 2.I.

III.iii.2.E.3.g.Associating Extracts With the Proper Veteran

Extracts contain the following information that ROs must compare against information in a Veteran’s claims folder and/or corporate record to ensure they are associating extracts with the proper Veteran:
  • service number
  • rank
  • branch of service
  • age
  • race
  • years of service, and
  • facility where admitted.

III.iii.2.E.3.h.When to Submit a Supplemental Request for Copies of Extracts

 
Submit a supplemental request to NPRC for extracts from SGO records if
  • VA is unable to make a favorable decision on a pending claim based on the evidence of record
  • VA has not submitted a request to NPRC for the Veteran’s STRs since May 18, 1990
  • the Veteran’s service number is of record, and
  • the evidence of record suggests the Veteran was hospitalized during service between
    • 1942 and 1945, or
    • 1950 and 1954.

III.iii.2.E.3.i.Claims Denied Prior to May 18, 1990, for Which SGO Extracts Might Exist

 
ROs must request extracts from SGO records and consider anew the merits of a previously denied claim if, during routine review of a claims folder, an RO
  • discovers a claim VA denied prior to May 18, 1990, and
  • determines extracts from SGO records might exist for the Veteran.
Example:  A claim from a Veteran
  • who served in the Army during the Korean Conflict, and
  • whose claim for SC for residuals of back surgery VA denied in 1985.
If NPRC ultimately furnishes copies of extracts for the Veteran, follow the steps in the table below.
If the extracts …
Then …
contain evidence that supports the claim
  • initiate development (if necessary), or
  • take award action (if entitlement exists).
do not contain evidence that supports the claim
  • advise the claimant VA has
    • reviewed his/her claim, and
    • confirmed the prior denial, and
  • clear the appropriate end product.

III.iii.2.E.3.j. Not Found Entries in SGO Extracts

 
Not Found entry in the Explanation column of an extract means NPRC was unable to interpret numerical data in the extract.
Use the table below to request additional information for SGO extracts from the NPRC.
If …
And the corresponding claim …
Then use PIES request code …
  • the entry for a diagnosis in an extract is Not Found
  • the diagnosis is critical in determining a claimant’s entitlement, and
  • NPRC last responded to a VA request for medical records prior to April 1992
is being processed in VBMS
M06-V.
is not being processed in VBMS
M06.
If an NPRC response to the request referenced above does not include additional, relevant information, decide the claim based on the evidence of record.
Note:  Although it is possible NPRC may receive additional information in the future that would enable it to update Not Found entries, this rarely occurs.  If and when NPRC does receive such information, it will notify VA.
Reference:  For more information about PIES, see the PIES Participant Guide.

4.  Records of Treatment of a Dependent at a Military Facility


Introduction

 
This topic contains information on medical records referring to the treatment of a service member’s dependent at a military facility, including

Change Date

 
June 29, 2018

III.iii.2.E.4.a.Primary Purpose for Obtaining a Dependent’s Treatment Records

Before granting SC for a claimed disability, VA must determine whether the disability
  • existed prior to service and, if so,
  • was aggravated beyond its normal progression during service.
In order to make this determination, VA may request and review relevant medical records.  These might include records associated with treatment the Veteran received at a military facility as a service member’s dependent.

III.iii.2.E.4.b.Migration of a Dependent’s Treatment Records

 
Medical records referring to the treatment of a service member’s dependent move with the service member and his/her dependent from duty station to duty station.
When the dependent has not received treatment at a military facility for a period of three years, the service member’s service department retires the dependent’s treatment records to NPRC.

III.iii.2.E.4.c.Requesting a Dependent’s Treatment Records Through PIES

 
Use the information in the following table to determine which PIES request code to use when requesting the treatment records of a Veteran’s dependent(s).
If the request is for …
And the claim …
Then use PIES request code …
inpatient treatment records
will be processed in VBMS
C03-V.
will not be processed in VBMS
C03.
outpatient treatment records
will be processed in VBMS
C04-V.
will not be processed in VBMS
C04.
 
Exception:  If the dependent received treatment after 2004, attempt to access his/her treatment records by following the instructions in M21-1, Part III, Subpart iii, 2.E.4.e before submitting a request for the records through PIES.
Note:  In most cases, PIES automatically assigns the correct address code to each request it accepts, based on the request code a user enters.  Therefore, the address codes listed below for obtaining dependents’ treatment records are primarily provided for informational purposes
  • address code 75 – treatment records from Army and Air Force facilities, and
  • address code 13 – treatment records from Navy and Marine Corps facilities.
References:  For more information about

III.iii.2.E.4.d.Information ROs Must Provide in a PIES Request for Treatment Records of a Service Member’s Dependent

 
The table below shows the information ROs must provide to NPRC when requesting the treatment records of a service member’s dependent through PIES.
If the dependent received treatment as an …
Then the RO must provide NPRC with the …
inpatient
  • year(s) of treatment, and
  • full name of the last facility to treat the dependent.
outpatient
  • last year of treatment, and
  • full name of the facility that treated the dependent.
 
Note:  NPRC may occasionally request additional information that an RO must provide in order for NPRC to continue searching for a dependent’s treatment records.

III.iii.2.E.4.e.  Accessing a Dependent’s Treatment Records Through JLV

 
If a Veteran was treated in a military facility as a dependent after 2004, electronic copies of corresponding treatment records should be accessible via the Joint Legacy Viewer (JLV).
References:  For information about accessing

5.  Alternative Means of Verifying Service


Introduction

 
This topic contains information on alternative means of verifying a Veteran’s service, including

Change Date

 
June 11, 2015

III.iii.2.E.5.a.Using BIRLS to Verify Service

 
The Beneficiary Identification and Records Locator Subsystem (BIRLS) VETERANS IDENTIFICATION DATA (VID) screen contains basic information about a Veteran’s service, to include
  • entrance and discharge dates
  • branch of service, and
  • character of service.
VA considers a Veteran’s service “verified” if the BIRLS VID screen contains the entries described in M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, 6.B.3.b.
Reference:  For more information about BIRLS and the VID screen, see the Share User Guide or press the HELP button on the VBA READY SCREEN in Share.

III.iii.2.E.5.b.Alternative Sources for Evidence of Service

 
When the standard means of verifying a Veteran’s service, as set forth in M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, 6.B, are unsuccessful, ROs should follow up with the claimant, encouraging him/her to search his/her personal effects for a copy of discharge documents or other evidence of service.
If a claimant is still unable to locate acceptable evidence of service and the Veteran’s record contains sufficient information to justify a request for this evidence, ROs should attempt to request it from the following sources:
  • Social Security Administration
  • State unemployment offices
  • State historical commissions
  • Federal or State offices of personnel management (if the Veteran was employed by a Federal or State agency)
  • current or former employers (The Veteran may have provided an employer a copy of his/her discharge documents at the time of application or hiring.)
  • Railroad Retirement Board (if the Veteran was employed by the railroad)
  • county courthouses
  • State Adjutants General offices, and/or
  • rosters or registers published by some States that list Veterans who served in World War I, WWII, and the Korean Conflict.  (These may contain complete service data for each Veteran listed.)
Note:  ROs must determine which sources of alternative records are most reliable and the weight to be given to any evidence acquired.
Reference:  For more information on acceptable forms of evidence for service verification, to include alternative evidence, see M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, 6.B.3.

6.  Alternative Sources of Evidence and Records

 


Introduction

 
This topic contains information on alternative sources of evidence and records, including

Change Date

 
March 23, 2015

III.iii.2.E.6.a. VA’s Obligation to Assist Claimants

 
Blocks within this topic contain instructions for assisting claimants in obtaining replacement records and secondary evidence.  VA has an obligation to assist claimants in obtaining these items when
  • service records are not available from standard sources, such as
    • the Veteran’s service department (to include Reserve and Guard units)
    • PIES, or
    • Defense Personnel Records Image Retrieval System (DPRIS), and/or
  • a Veteran’s claims folder and/or records pertinent to a claim are lost.
References:  For information about requesting records through

III.iii.2.E.6.b.“Buddy Statements” as Secondary Evidence of Involvement in Combat

 
Under circumstances described in 38 CFR 3.304(d), VA may grant SC for a disability incurred or aggravated during combat based solely on a Veteran’s assertion of the circumstances surrounding its incurrence or aggravation.
If service records do not show the Veteran was involved in combat on the date the disability was incurred or aggravated, VA may use a credible statement from a fellow service member (often referred to as a “buddy statement”) to corroborate the Veteran’s claim.
VA considers a buddy statement “credible” if the evidence of record shows the fellow service member served in the same unit and at the same time as the Veteran claims he/she was injured in combat.  This information is usually obtainable through review of the fellow service member’s DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, or other evidence of service.
References:  For information on

III.iii.2.E.6.c.Handling Claims With Lost Records

 
If there is any indication that a claim or records pertinent to a claim are lost, VA is obligated to assist the claimant in obtaining replacement records.  When an RO attempts to obtain such records, it must notify the claimant of its actions.
A VA employee must
  • provide a full description of the lost record(s) on VA Form 27-0820
  • request copies of any lost documents and records submitted by, or on behalf of the claimant, that the power of attorney or fiduciary has in its possession (as applicable), and
  • place the documents in the claims folder (or temporary folder, if the claims folder has been lost).
The table below describes situations involving lost records and the additional actions that must be taken in each situation.
If …
Then …
a claims folder is lost
  • print out screen shots of corporate records that show any
    • pending issue(s), and/or
    • running award
  • file the screen prints in a temporary claims folder, and
  • follow the instructions for handling lost or missing claims folders in M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, 4.D.
a claim for VA benefits is lost
follow the instructions in M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, 4.D.4.

III.iii.2.E.6.d.Obtaining Service Academy Records

 
Service academies have permanent custody of the records service members accumulate while attending an academy.  Consequently, when an RO submits a request through normal channels for the service records of a Veteran who attended an academy, the records it receives may not include those pertaining to the period of time the Veteran was attending an academy.
Under these circumstances, the RO must use a locally generated letter to request copies of the Veteran’s service records from the appropriate service academy.  The letter must contain the following:
  • identifying information about the Veteran
  • inclusive dates of the Veteran’s attendance at the academy, and
  • a request for all available records, including academic, counseling, personnel, and medical records.  (Otherwise the academy may furnish only academic records.
The table below shows the addresses for each service academy.
Service Academy
Address
Air Force Academy
HQ’s USAFA/DFRR
2354 Fairchild Dr
Suite 6D 106
USAF Academy, CO 80840-6210
Naval Academy
Office of the Registrar
US Naval Academy
589 McNair Rd
Annapolis, MD 21402-5031
United States Military Academy
United States Military Academy
Office of the Dean
Attn: Graduate Records
West Point, NY 10996-5000
Coast Guard Academy
Registrar’s Office
15 Mohegan Ave
New London, CT 06320-4195
 
Important:  Do not confuse private academies, such as the Citadel or Virginia Military Academy, with Federal service academies. Disabilities incurred or aggravated as a result of attendance at a private academy are not subject to SC.

7.  Verifying Philippine Service in the United States Armed Forces


Introduction

 
This topic contains information on verifying Philippine service in the United States Armed Forces, including

Change Date

 
March 23, 2015

III.iii.2.E.7.a.Individuals Who May Be Eligible for VA Benefits Based on Philippine Service

 
Individuals with Philippine service as a recognized member of one of the following may be eligible for VA benefits:
  • Regular Philippine Scouts
  • Special Philippine Scouts
  • Commonwealth Army of the Philippines inducted into the United States Armed Forces, or
  • United States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) guerrillas.
References:  For information about

III.iii.2.E.7.b.Verifying Service as a Regular or Special Philippine Scout

 
The United States Armed Forces provided Philippine Scouts discharge certificates similar to those issued to members of regular components of the United States Armed Forces.
In the absence of an original or certified copy of DD Form 214, obtain verification of an individual’s service as a Regular or Special Philippine Scout by submitting a request to NPRC through PIES.  Use request code O50 on the ARMY tab of the PIES 3101 – PAGE 2 screen.
Exceptions:
  • Use request code S01 on the ARMY tab of the PIES 3101 – PAGE 2 screen if the corresponding claim cannot established, developed, and completed in VBMS.
  • Disregard the instructions in this block if VA has ever submitted a PIES request for service records under request code O50.

Notes:

  • The United States Armed Forces assigned Philippine Scouts service numbers indicative of an overseas enlistment in one of the following ranges of numbers:
    • 10,000,000-to-10,999,999, or
    • 30,000,000-to-30,999,999.
  • ROs may also request STRs for Regular and Special Philippine Scouts from NPRC through PIES.

Reference:  For more information about PIES, see


III.iii.2.E.7.c.Verifying Service in the Commonwealth Army of the Philippines or as a USAFFE Guerrilla

 
The United States Armed Forces did not provide separation or discharge documents to members of the Commonwealth Army of the Philippines or USAFFE guerrillas.  To obtain verification of an individual’s service in either of these armed forces, follow the steps in the table below.
Step
Action
1
Complete a hard-copy version of VA Form 3101, Request for Information.
2
Create a photocopy of the completed form.
3
Is VA processing the corresponding claim in a paperless environment?
  • If yes, scan the photocopy of the completed VA Form 3101into VBMS.
  • If no, place the photocopy into the claimant’s claims folder.
4
Mail the original version of the form to:
NPRC-MPR
Philippine Army Section
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, MO  63132
 
Important:  The Armed Forces of the Philippines or the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office typically provides the Manila RO with documentation of an individual’s service in the Commonwealth Army of the Philippines or as a USAFFE guerrilla.  However, the RO must still obtain verification of service from NPRC.
Notes:
  • The Commonwealth Army of the Philippines assigned service numbers to its members that normally contain six digits.
  • Many guerrillas do not have a service number.
  • STRs for members of the Commonwealth Army of the Philippines or USAFFE guerrillas may be requested from NPRC through PIES.
Reference:  For information about submitting a request for STRs through PIES, see

8.  Obtaining Service Information in Other Special Situations

 


Introduction

 
This topic contains information on verifying service information in other situations, including

Change Date

 
March 14, 2017

III.iii.2.E.8.a.Verifying Whether a Veteran Meets the Minimum Active-Duty Service Requirement

 
To obtain verification that a Veteran meets the minimum active-duty service requirement (24 months) set forth in 38 CFR 3.12a, send a request to NPRC through PIES, using request code O99.  In the free-text section of the request enterPlease verify two years of honorable active service.
Note:  If the corresponding claim is being processed in VBMS, submit request code O50.  The PIES O50 request covers documentation needed to manually verify minimum active-duty service requirements.
Exception:  Service personnel records required to determine whether a Veteran meets the minimum active-duty service requirement are available only through DPRIS if the Veteran was discharged from the
  • Army on or after October 1, 1994
  • Navy on or after January 1, 1995
  • Air Force on or after October 1, 2004, or
  • Marine Corps on or after January 1, 1999.
To request the relevant personnel records from DPRIS, select all records under SERVICE COMPUTATION GROUP on the OMPF REQUEST FORM.
References:  For more information about

III.iii.2.E.8.b.Verifying Service Information of the Author of a Buddy Statement

 
To obtain evidence to verify service information of the author of a buddy statement, submit a request through PIES, as follows:
  • enter identifying information about the Veteran on the 3101 – PAGE 1 screen
  • enter identifying information about the author of the buddy statement on the 3101 – PAGE 2 screen
  • select request code
    • O38-V (if the corresponding claim is being processed in VBMS), or
    • O38 (if the corresponding claim is not being processed in VBMS)
  • enter the following in the free-text section of the request:
    • a description of the information or records required to determine the credibility of the buddy statement, and
    • the complete organizational structure of the unit to which the author of the buddy statement was assigned during the period of time he/she references in the statement, and
  • add a copy of the request to the Veteran’s claims folder.
Exception:  Service personnel records that may be useful in determining the credibility of a buddy statement are available only through DPRIS if the author of the buddy statement was discharged from the
  • Army on or after October 1, 1994
  • Navy on or after January 1, 1995
  • Air Force on or after October 1, 2004, or
  • Marine Corps on or after January 1, 1999.
Depending on the content of the buddy statement, select those types of records on the OMPF REQUEST FORM that would likely contain information to confirm or refute the credibility of the buddy statement.

III.iii.2.E.8.c.Verifying Service Information Through Morning Reports

 
Morning reports show daily changes in the status of service members in a specific unit.  They are useful to VA because they often contain information about service members who were sick or injured on any given day.
Only the Army and Air Force kept morning reports, and, then, only for a limited period of time.
  • The Army kept morning reports from November 1, 1912, through 1974.  (A few units continued using them until 1980.)
  • The Air Force kept morning reports from September 1947 through June 30, 1966.
Morning reports must be requested if the following criteria is met:
  • if the evidence of record (to include STRs) does not confirm treatment for an injury or disease a claimant asserts was incurred or aggravated during service, and
  • the Veteran served in the Army or Air Force during the period of time each used morning reports.
Request copies of morning reports from NPRC through PIES, using request code
  • O20-V (if the corresponding claim is being processed in VBMS) or
  • O20 (if the corresponding claim is not being processed in VBMS).
 The PIES request must include the
  • approximate date of illness or injury, and
  • name of the organization (company, battalion, wing, squadron, etc.) to which the Veteran was attached at the time of injury or illness.
Important:  NPRC will not search morning reports for a date range in excess of three months.

III.iii.2.E.8.d.Verifying Service Information Required for Other Unique Claims

 
Upon receipt of a claim for SC for a disability or disease listed in the table below, ROs must verify service information that is unique to the claim.
The references cited in the table below show what service information ROs must verify and the means for requesting it.
If the claim involves service SC for a disability …
Then follow the instructions in …
related to exposure to ionizing radiation
related to exposure to asbestos
incurred as a former prisoner of war
incurred as a result of participation in a classified or covert operation
related to exposure to herbicides
related to exposure to contaminants in the water supply at Camp Lejeune
incurred as a result of exposure to a specific environmental hazard

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