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M21-1, Part III, Subpart iii, Chapter 8 – Evidence Required to Change or Correct Existing Vital Information About a Beneficiary


1.  Evidence Required to Change or Correct Existing Vital Information About a Beneficiary


This topic contains information about changing or correcting existing vital information about a beneficiary, including

Change Date

 September 29, 2017

III.iii.8.1.a.  Evidence Requirement to Change or Correct Existing Vital Information About a Beneficiary

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) requires documentation to update vital information about a beneficiary that currently exists in VA records.  Vital information with special evidentiary requirements include:

  • name
  • date of birth
  • Social Security number (SSN), and
  • gender (due to gender reassignment).


  • VA does not require special evidence to correct clerical mistakes made while entering information about a beneficiary in VA systems or records.
  • Fix clerical mistakes upon identification of the error unless the file number or SSN require correction.
  • E-mail the Enterprise Service Desk to request correction of a file number or SSN not involving a duplicate record.

Note:  A “beneficiary,” for the purpose of this block, is limited to the following individuals who are in receipt of VA benefits:

  • Veteran
  • surviving spouse
  • surviving parent, and
  • surviving child (who is entitled to benefits in his/her own right).

References:  For more information on

III.iii.8.1.b.  Types of Acceptable Evidence for Vital Information Changes

The table below contains a description of the evidence required to change or correct the vital information identified in M21-1, Part III, Subpart iii, 8.1.a.
Vital Information to Be Modified
Evidence Required
  • A signed decree from a judge or court showing a legal name change has taken place, or
  • Social Security card that reflects the beneficiary’s new name.

Exceptions:  The documentary evidence described in this row is not required if a beneficiary’s last name changes because of

  • a marriage that VA recognizes as valid, or
  • divorce or annulment, when
    • the beneficiary, or their appointed Veterans service organization/agent/attorney, notifies VA of the termination of marriage due to divorce or annulment, and
    • VA can accept the notification as proof of termination of the marriage.
date of birth
  • Birth certificate, or
  • verification of date of birth through Federal Online Query (FOLQ) using the SSA INQUIRY command.
At least one of the following documents:

  • Social Security card
  • current pay stub showing the beneficiary’s SSN
  • Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement
  • Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income, or
  • verification of SSN through FOLQ using the SSA INQUIRY command.
At least one of the following:

  • medical evidence to establish gender reassignment surgery occurred and the date it took place
  • an amended birth certificate that reflects the change in gender, or
  • a signed decree from a judge or court showing a legal name change has taken place due to gender reassignment.
References:  For more information about
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