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Evidence

When you file a claim for disability benefits, you’ll need to gather all related evidence (supporting documents like a doctor’s report or medical test results) so we can decide on your claim. You may have some of these documents—or be able to easily get them—but we’ll need your permission to get others. File a claim now.

The documents you’ll need to provide include:

  • Your DD214 or other separation documents
  • Service treatment records (if you have them)
  • Medical evidence related to your illness or injury

We’re responsible for:

  • Getting related records from:

    • Any federal agency (including the military)
    • VA medical centers (including private facilities where VA has authorized treatment)
    • The Social Security Administration
  • Providing a medical exam or getting a doctor’s opinion, if needed to decide the claim

You’re responsible for:

  • Getting related records not held by a federal agency. These may include records from:

    • State or local governments
    • Private (non-VA) doctors and hospitals
    • Current or former employers
  • Giving us any information we may need in order to get other records

Example
A Veteran filed a disability claim that included prior treatment from a private doctor and a prior Social Security disability award. In this case, we were responsible for getting the Social Security records. We also helped to get the private doctor’s records, but the Veteran was responsible for making sure we got those.


Evidence Procedures for Fully Developed Claims and Standard Claims

Fully Developed Claims

The Fully Developed Claims (FDC) program lets you resolve your claim faster. You’ll need to send these items when you file your formal claim:

  • All related service-treatment and personnel records
  • Any related private medical records

We consider disability claims to be fully developed when you have no more evidence to send and the only help you need from us is getting federal records and providing—or helping to provide—added medical exams or doctors’ opinions. If we discover that there are other private records we need to decide your claim, we’ll remove your claim from the FDC program and review it through the traditional claims process. Learn more about the FDC program.

Standard Claims

With standard claims, we take more responsibility for gathering related records from both federal and nonfederal sources that you identify and authorize. These may include:

  • Privately held evidence and information that you tell us about (such as records from a private doctor or hospital), and
  • Records from state or local governments or current or former employers

We’ll provide a medical exam for you, or will get a doctor’s opinion, if it’s needed to make a claims decision. Learn more about standard claims.