The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)  has a "duty to assist" the veteran in gathering evidence. The wise veteran will ignore this and act as if there were no such requirements. If you not confident, you can do everything on your own; let the Veterans Disability Advocate (VADA) assist you. No matter whom you choose as your representative  VSO (link is external) to help you, the VSO will want you to be involved in your claim. Your VSO will do a much better job if you're actively helping gather evidence and getting good copies of the evidence for your VSO to review.  


While the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has the "duty to assist," this duty does not guarantee that any extraordinary effort will be made on your behalf.  A Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Veterans Service Representative [VSR] is given the evidence. But after trying once or twice without results, he or she is under little or no obligation to continue. This is why it's important not to rely on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to complete the task of gathering that information.



What's Considered Evidence?


Military Medical Records – The Veteran has retained

or acquired his/heir's Military Medical Records from

Active Duty. (Form SF180)


Military Personnel Records - Military personnel records can

include DD 214s/Separation Documents, service personnel records

found within the Official Military Personnel File (OMPF), and

medical records. Military personnel records can be used for proving

military service or as a valuable tool in genealogical research (Form SF180)


VA Medical Records - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Release of Information (ROI) staff will be happy to assist you with requests for your VA Medical records.


Private Medical Records – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will ask you to provide the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all treating physicians and other health providers. You will also be asked to fill out forms allowing your medical providers to release private medical information to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).


Lay Evidence – First-Hand Accounts 

• Personal Statement – Tell your side of the story

• Buddy Statements – Statements from other soldiers who witness the event

• Family Statements – Statements from family to validate your impairment

VA Evidence to Support Claim

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