As an attorney who practiced disability law representing Soldiers while a member of the Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps and who today practices as a civilian attorney representing Veterans in appeals to the Board of Veterans Appeals – one of the most frightening, yet all too common lines I hear from Veterans is “it’s all in my records, it’s all in there.” Please do not say this. If your VA disability claim is important to you – know where “it” is located in the record, organize your medical records prior to submitting a claim or filing an appeal.
Disability raters at the VA’s regional offices are required to issue several decisions every day and many Veterans have thousands of pages of documents in their medical and personnel files. Hence, when filing a claim list your issue, attach an index such as: “I claim bilateral feet disability, please see page 18 of my submitted records where it shows that I was treated for bilateral feet on Month, Day, Year which was a date in which I was serving on active duty. If you nicely organize your records and evidence and guide the raters at the RO to that evidence – then you are helping them help you get to the decision that you wish to obtain. A few extra hours on the front end for organizational purposes – can save you YEARS on the back end filing endless appeals and supplemental claims.