veteransdisabilitycom: Get answers to your questions and resources here.
Here are two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) letters. I’ve uploaded them to my Drop box so everyone who needs them can download them. Link below. They were found at (disabledveterans.org)
Here is the link to the page where the original article was published. 3/27/14 Disabled Veterans Sample FOIA Letter
The first letter was borrowed from a law firm for disabled veterans requesting copies of their disability claim folder (which will contain your Service Medical Records (SMR’s). The second is for disabled veterans requesting a copy of their Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) claim folder. These are two separate folders!
The request for the regular SMR will need to go through the regular channels of the VA. The quickest way to the the Voc Rehab folder is to hand carry the request into the Voc Rehab office. Mix and match whatever language suits you best. If the first one seems too “teethy”, then alter the second to request your SMR’s.
The below page is information I got via Gulf War Syndrome (Google Plus) that may be of use to any veterans who may need this information. There are contact numbers as well as many other links here. I will add to this page when information becomes available to me.
This question has been asked before concerning family members having to return VA check of deceased veteran. See response from the VA below.
Via Chris Harding – topic about returning benefits after the veteran dies. Specifically, the survivor had to return the back pay check. I sent an information request to the Veterans Affairs about the latter and this is what they said:
Quote: “Typically, we are unable to provide specific answers to hypothetical situations, since eligibility for benefits depends upon many details and is decided on a case by case basis.
Generally, if a payment is sent and the beneficiary is deceased, the payment should be returned. The surviving spouse can submit a VA Form 21-534EZ, Application for DIC, Death Pension, and/or Accrued Benefits, to apply for accrued benefits. Other family members can apply for accrued benefits using the VA Form 21-601, Application for Accrued Amounts Due A Deceased Beneficiary.
We have attached a copy of the form to this inquiry, for your convenience. Additional copies of the form can also be accessed online at http://www.va.gov/vaforms/.
We are unable to advise you where the forms should be sent, since we do not know where the surviving family members reside.
Title 38 of the United States Code is the regulation for Veteran’s benefits. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide you with a more specific reference.
Thank you for contacting us. If you have questions or need additional help with the information in our reply, please respond to this message or see our other contact information below.”[VA, 2013]
Here are the links for the form:
VA Form 21-534EZ – http://www.va.gov/vaforms/form_detail.asp?FormNo=21-534EZ
VA Form 21-601 – http://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-21-601-ARE.pdf
The subsitution of claimant upon death form is 21-0847. This way the family can get the back pay. – http://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-21-0847-ARE.pdf
- VA Progress on Claims Backlog Highlighted during Congressional Testimony (veteranstoday.com)
- Veterans Administration Scales Back Efforts to Reduce Veterans Benefit Backlog (aconservativeedge.wordpress.com)