When you apply for VA disability, the VA has a “duty to assist”, that is, to work with you not against you. This includes a responsibility to find the medical records which support your application. However, you may wish to request your records on your own.
But what if—as sometimes happens—weeks and even months go by and you have not received the records you requested. One possible course of action is to file a Freedom of Information Act request for the records.
There are no special forms required to submit a request. However, the VA requires that your Freedom of Information request be submitted in writing. You can use a mailed, emailed, or faxed letter which reasonably describes the records you want so that may be located with a reasonable amount of effort.
There may be fees associated with obtaining your records if they exceed one hundred photocopied pages or the search time is more than two hours, so in your letter you must state your willingness to pay these fees or submit a justification for a fee waiver.
Include your address and daytime phone number in case the VA needs to contact you.
Send your letter to the facility which maintains your records. If you are unsure of where your records are, there is a general address you can use. This address can be found on the web by searching VA Freedom of Information Act.
If you do not receive your records within 20 days of your written request or if the records you get are incomplete or inaccurate, you have the right to file a Freedom of Information Act appeal. Your appeal must be filed within 60 days.
If you want help in obtaining your records or just want a free evaluation of your VA disability case, call us at Cuddigan Law where you have a team of professionals in your corner who will fight for your rights.