Although all hospitals are required to keep medical records for a period of time after treatment, there are a number of reasons while keeping your own copies of your VA medical records is a good idea. Having your own copies of your treatment records on hand will allow you an advantage in:

  • Benefits claims. When you leave military service, you should request a full set of your service medical records, even if you are in good health. This will allow you to pursue a claim in the future if your service is linked to a condition that becomes symptomatic later in life (such as PTSD or chemical exposure), without waiting for the VA to act on your request for records.
  • Preparing for appeal. Many VA claims are denied due to lack of evidence. If your VA compensation claim is denied, you can examine your claim file and medical records side by side to see if any evidence is missing or is contradictory. There may be a document that doesn’t belong to you in your file, or your file may not contain an important document that is in your service medical record.
  • Attorney review. Most VA disability attorneys will want to review your claim file and medical records in order to advise you on your case. This is because the evidence in your file can make or break your VA disability claim, so it is important to have as much proof of your condition as possible. If you have your own copies of your medical records, you can shave weeks off of your wait time for an appeal. This also allows your lawyer to see the facts of your case immediately.

We Examine the Evidence and Explain Your Options to You Free of Charge

At Cuddigan Law, our attorneys help veterans get the VA disability compensation they are owed—while also examining other aid sources to maximize their benefits. Click here to read through a free copy of our book, The Essential Guide to VA Disability Claims, or fill out the short contact form on this page to ask us a question.


Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska