M21-1MR, Part IV, Subpart II, Chapter 1, Section H




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M21-1MR, Part IV, Subpart ii, Chapter 1, Section H

Section H. Claims for Service Connection for Other Diseases and Disabilities

Overview




In this Section

This section contains the following topics:




Topic

Topic Name

See Page

26

Developing Claims for Service Connection for Positive Tuberculin Reactions

1-H-2

27

Developing Claims for Service Connection for Chronic or Tropical Diseases

1-H-4

28

Developing Claims Based on Herbicide Exposure in the Republic of Vietnam (RVN)

1-H-7

29

Developing Claims for Service Connection for Asbestos-Related Diseases

1-H-15

30

Developing Claims for Service Connection for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)

1-H-17

31

Developing Claims Based on Participation in Special Operations Incidents

1-H-19



26. Developing Claims for Service Connection for Positive Tuberculin Reactions




Introduction

This topic contains information on developing claims for service connection for positive tuberculin reactions, including


  • action to take on a claim for service connection for a

  • positive tuberculin reaction only, or

  • positive tuberculin reaction and other disabilities, and

  • the reporting responsibilities of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) outpatient clinics and VA medical centers (VAMCs).



Change Date

September 5, 2008



a. Action to Take on a Claim for Service Connection for a Positive Tuberculin Reaction Only

If VA Form 21-526, Veteran’s Application for Compensation and/or Pension, is received claiming only a positive tuberculin reaction, refer the claim to the rating activity for a determination as to whether or not a disability is present.
Reference: For more information on claims for service connection for a positive tuberculin reaction, see M21-1MR, Part III, Subpart v, 7.A.10.



b. Action to Take on a Claim for Service Connection for a Positive Tuberculin Reaction and Other Disabilities

If VA Form 21-526 indicates that a positive tuberculin reaction is claimed together with other disabilities


  • complete any appropriate development required for the other disabilities, and

  • refer the file to the rating activity for rating of all the claimed disabilities.

Continued on next page

26. Developing Claims for Service Connection for Positive Tuberculin Reactions, Continued


c. Reporting Responsibilities of VA Outpatient Clinics and Medical Centers

As provided in M21-1MR, Part III, Subpart v, 7.A.10, a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) outpatient clinic or VA medical center (VAMC) will furnish a report of the follow-up examination made at the expiration of the 12-month period of chemotherapy for discharged personnel who have had a tuberculin test conversion from negative to positive during service.
Refer the file to the rating activity if a VA outpatient clinic or VAMC report or any other evidence indicates the presence of tuberculous disease.
The rating activity will consider establishing service connection by way of presumption under 38 CFR 3.307 and M21-1MR, Part IV, Subpart ii, 1.H.27.d.



27. Developing Claims for Service Connection for Chronic or Tropical Diseases




Introduction

This topic contains information on developing claims for service connection for chronic or tropical diseases, including


  • the definition of a chronic disease

  • establishing whether a disease is chronic

  • considering

  • service connection for a chronic or tropical disease, and

  • presumptive service connection

  • the locations of lists of chronic and tropical diseases, and

  • the action to take if a disease was

  • treated in service, or

  • not treated in service.



Change Date

December 13, 2005



a. Definition: Chronic Disease

A chronic disease is a disease


  • of prolonged duration, producing incapacitating symptoms of varying degree

  • that may undergo remission, and

  • that is seldom entirely cured with all residuals of damage being completely eradicated.



b. Establishing Whether a Disease Is Chronic

If a diagnosis is prefaced with the word “chronic,” that does not necessarily establish the disease as chronic.
Important: Whether a disease is chronic is a matter for a factual determination dependent on the nature of the disease and its manifestations. Some diseases are inherently chronic, such as multiple sclerosis, while others, such as bronchitis, may be either acute or chronic.

Continued on next page

27. Developing Claims for Service Connection for Chronic or Tropical Diseases, Continued


c. Considering Service Connection for a Chronic or Tropical Disease

When deciding any claim for service connection for a chronic or tropical disease, it is also necessary to consider


  • service connection based on manifestation of the claimed disease during service, and

  • service connection based on a presumption that the disease, which was first manifested following discharge from service, is nevertheless related to service.


d. Considering Presumptive Service Connection

Once a substantially complete claim is of record, the following conditions apply:


  • the possibility of entitlement to presumptive service connection exists when the Veteran alleges inception within the limiting periods contained in

  • 38 U.S.C. 1112, or

  • 38 U.S.C. 1133, when appropriate

  • the Veteran does not need to establish that the disease in question was definitely diagnosed within the presumptive period, and

  • the evidence should show that manifestations of the condition, disabling to the degree of at least 10 percent, became apparent prior to the expiration of the presumptive period shown in 38 CFR 3.307.



e. Locations of Lists of Chronic and Tropical Diseases

The conditions listed in


  • 38 U.S.C. 1101(3) and 38 CFR 3.309(a) are chronic diseases, and

  • 38 U.S.C. 1101(4) and 38 CFR 3.309(b) are tropical diseases.



f. Action to Take if a Condition Was Treated in Service

If service records show the Veteran was treated for a chronic or tropical disease, refer the case to the rating activity.

Continued on next page

27. Developing Claims for Service Connection for Chronic or Tropical Diseases, Continued


g. Action to Take if a Disease Was Not Treated in Service

Even though certain chronic and tropical diseases were not treated during service, service connection may still be established on a presumptive basis under the provisions of


  • 38 U.S.C. 1112

  • 38 U.S.C. 1133, or

  • 38 U.S.C. 1137.


Reference: For information on the diseases for which service connection may be established on a presumptive basis and the service requirements that must be met, see 38 CFR 3.307.



28. Developing Claims Based on Herbicide Exposure in the Republic of Vietnam (RVN)




Introduction

This topic contains information on developing claims based on service in the Republic of Vietnam (RVN), including


  • the definition of service in the RVN

  • the time period during which herbicide exposure may be presumed

  • considering

  • the diseases for which service connection may be presumed under the Agent Orange Act of 1991

  • initial correspondence with the Veteran in herbicide exposure claims

  • the action to take when the Veteran alleges herbicide exposure but does not claim a disability

  • developing claims based on service aboard ships offshore the RVN

  • requesting verification of service aboard ships offshore the RVN or on inland waterways from the

  • National Personnel Records Center, or

  • U.S. Army and Joint Services Records Research Center (JSRRC), and

  • considering claims for benefits based on birth defects.



Change Date

March 20, 2011



a. Definition: Service in the RVN

For the purposes of establishing service connection under 38 CFR 3.307(a)(6) and 38 CFR 3.309(e), service in the Republic of Vietnam (RVN) means


  • service in the RVN or its inland waterways, or

  • service in other locations if the conditions of service involved duty or visitation in the RVN.


References: For

  • more information on the definition of service in the RVN, see VAOPGCPREC 27-97

  • information on exposure to herbicides during service

  • aboard ships that operated offshore the RVN, see M21-1MR, Part IV, Subpart ii, 1.H.28.h

  • along the demilitarized zone in Korea, see M21-1MR, Part IV, Subpart ii, 2.C.10.o, and

  • in Thailand, see M21-1MR, Part IV, Subpart ii, 2.C.10.p.

Continued on next page

28. Developing Claims Based on Herbicide Exposure in the Republic of Vietnam (RVN), Continued
b. Time Period During Which Herbicide Exposure May Be Presumed

Public Law (PL) 104-275 (38 U.S.C. 1116) provides that effective January 1, 1997, the time period during which exposure to herbicides in the RVN may be presumed is January 9, 1962, to May 7, 1975.
Notes:

  • Qualifying skin conditions must have become manifest to a degree of 10 percent or more within one year of the last date of service within the RVN.

  • 2, 3, 7, 8 Tetrachlorodibenzo-P-Dioxin (TCDD) is a herbicide commonly referred to as “Agent Orange.”



c. Considering Qualifying Length of Service in the RVN

There is no requirement for a specified length of service, duty, or visitation in the RVN under 38 CFR 3.307(a)(6)(iii).
Rationale: Even a few hours in the RVN during the Vietnam era may be sufficient to establish service connection for subsequently developed diseases based on a presumption of exposure to herbicides.



d. Considering Proof of Service in the RVN

If the claimant alleges service in the RVN, review the DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, or other evidence in the claims folder to confirm such service.
If necessary



  • submit a request for verification through PIES, using request code O34, and

  • ask the claimant to submit evidence, including “buddy statements,” to confirm service in Vietnam.


Important: A claim may not be denied solely because service in the RVN cannot be verified

  • until the end of the initial 30-day and 30-day follow-up response periods, and/or

  • (in cases where Federal records are needed to verify service in the RVN) until the requested Federal records are received or a formal response is received that the records are unavailable.


Reference: For information on verifying service on a ship in the waters offshore of the RVN, see M21-1MR, Part IV, Subpart ii, 1.H.28.i.

Continued on next page

28. Developing Claims Based on Herbicide Exposure in the Republic of Vietnam (RVN), Continued


e. Diseases for Which Service Connection May Be Presumed Under the Agent Orange Act of 1991

The Agent Orange Act of 1991, PL 102-4, established a presumption of service connection for Veterans with service in the RVN during the Vietnam era who subsequently develop, to a degree of 10 percent or more


  • Hodgkin’s disease

  • multiple myeloma

  • non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL)

  • acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy

  • porphyria cutanea tarda

  • prostate cancer

  • respiratory cancers, such as cancers of the

  • lung

  • bronchus

  • larynx, or

  • trachea

  • soft-tissue sarcoma

  • chloracne or other acneiform disease consistent with chloracne

  • type 2 diabetes mellitus

  • chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and

  • AL amyloidosis.


Notes:

  • Presumptive service connection based on herbicide exposure is provided for the above-listed diseases at 38 CFR 3.307(a)(6) and 38 CFR 3.309(e).

  • Presumptive service connection for NHL is also provided at 38 CFR 3.313, which is not based on herbicide exposure. Unlike entitlement under 38 CFR 3.307(a)(6) and 38 CFR 3.309(e), entitlement under 38 CFR 3.313

  • is based solely on service in the RVN, including naval service in the offshore “blue water” of the RVN, and

  • does not require that NHL manifest itself to a degree of 10 percent or more after service.


Reference: For more information on entitlement to service connection for NHL under 38 CFR 3.313, see M21-1MR, Part IV, Subpart ii, 2.C.10.t and u.

Continued on next page

28. Developing Claims Based on Herbicide Exposure in the Republic of Vietnam (RVN), Continued


f. Initial Correspondence With the Veteran in Herbicide Exposure Claims

When initially corresponding with a Veteran claiming disability resulting from exposure to herbicides while in the RVN


  • inform the Veteran of the availability of hospital examinations and treatment, or

  • if the Veteran has already had the herbicide examination or been treated for herbicide exposure, request that the Veteran submit

  • a copy of the examination or treatment report, or

  • the name of the VA facility performing the examination or treatment so that the regional office (RO) may obtain a copy of the report.



g. Action to Take When the Veteran Alleges Herbicide Exposure but Does Not Claim a Disability

A claim is not substantially complete if a Veteran alleges exposure to herbicides during service, but does not claim service connection for a specific disability. In cases such as this


  • inform the Veteran that he/she must identify a specific disability, since exposure in and of itself is not a disability, and

  • ask the Veteran to identify the disability(ies) that resulted from exposure to herbicides during service.


Important:

  • Do not

  • process the claim as a denial, or

  • establish end product (EP) control for the incomplete claim.

  • Whenever possible, telephone the Veteran to obtain the information needed to substantiate the claim.


Reference: For more information on what constitutes a substantially complete application, see

  • 38 CFR 3.159(a)(3), and

  • M21-1MR, Part I, 1.B.3.a.

Continued on next page

28. Developing Claims Based on Herbicide Exposure in the Republic of Vietnam (RVN), Continued


h. Developing Claims Based on Service Aboard Ships Offshore the RVN

When a Veteran alleges exposure to herbicides during service aboard a Navy or Coast Guard ship that operated on the offshore waters of the RVN, develop for


  • evidence that shows the ship

  • docked on the shores of the RVN, or

  • operated temporarily on the RVN inland waterways

  • evidence that places the Veteran onboard the ship at the time the ship docked on the shore or operated in inland waterways, and

  • the Veteran’s statement as to whether he/she went ashore after the ship docked, if the Veteran claims the ship docked to the shore.


Important: In all cases where a Veteran claims exposure to herbicides during service aboard a ship in offshore waters, place a copy of the U.S. Army and Joint Services Records Research Center’s (JSRRC’s) memorandum shown in M21-1MR, Part IV, Subpart ii, 2.C.10.l in the Veteran’s claim folder. This document will

  • substitute for individual inquiries to the Compensation and Pension Service’s Agent Orange mailbox and to the JSRRC, and

  • establish that the JSRRC has no evidence to support a claim of herbicide exposure during shipboard service.


Notes:

  • Service aboard a ship that anchored in an open deep-water harbor, such as Da Nang, Vung Tau, or Cam Ranh Bay, along the RVN coast does not constitute inland waterway service or qualify as docking and is not sufficient to establish presumptive exposure to herbicides. Evidence of shore docking is required in order to concede the possibility that the Veteran’s service involved duty or visitation in the RVN.

  • Veterans who served aboard large ocean-going ships that operated on the offshore waters of the RVN are often referred to as “blue water” Veterans because of the blue color of the deep offshore waters. They are distinguished from “brown water” Veterans who served aboard smaller river patrol and swift boats and land ship tanks (LSTs) that operated on the brown colored rivers, canals, estuaries, and delta areas making up the inland waterways of the RVN.

  • Brown water Navy and Coast Guard Veterans receive the same presumption of herbicide exposure as Veterans who served on the ground in the RVN.


Reference: For information on where to send requests for deck logs, see M21-1MR, Part IV, Subpart ii, 1.D.14.i.

Continued on next page

28. Developing Claims Based on Herbicide Exposure in the Republic of Vietnam (RVN), Continued


i. Requesting Verification of Service on Ships Offshore of the RVN or on Inland Waterways From NPRC

If a Veteran claims service connection for a disability related to exposure to herbicide agents, and alleges service on a ship in the waters offshore of the RVN or on the inland waterways, submit a PIES request to the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) for verification of this fact, using request code O19 or O34.
Once a response is received, review the available records for evidence that the


  • ship on which the Veteran served was in the waters off the RVN, and

  • Veteran’s service involved duty or visitation on land.


Important: Accept the claimant’s statement that he/she went ashore from that ship as evidence of presumptive exposure to herbicides if there is evidence that the

  • claimant’s ship docked to the shore of the RVN, and

  • the claimant was stationed aboard the ship at that time.


Reference: For more information on ships that docked to the shore of the RVN or traveled on inland waterways, see the following page on the Compensation and Pension Service Intranet website: http://vbaw.vba.va.gov/bl/21/rating/VENavyShip.htm.

Continued on next page

28. Developing Claims Based on Herbicide Exposure in the Republic of Vietnam (RVN), Continued

j. Requesting Verification of Service on Ships Offshore RVN or on Inland Waterways From JSRRC

If the Veteran has identified a 60-day* time frame for docking or inland waterway travel, but cannot produce the necessary evidence, and the service department has been unable to provide verification that the veteran went ashore or traveled on inland waterways, request verification from the U.S. Army and Joint Services Records Research Center (JSRRC) through the PIES/Defense Personnel Records Image Retrieval System (DPRIS) interface, using request code O43.
The request must include the following information:


  • was docked to the shore of the RVN, or

  • traveled on the inland waterways.


Notes:

  • Code O43 generates a request for ship histories and deck logs for Navy veterans. If verification is required for a veteran from another branch of service who served aboard a Navy ship, mail that request to JSRRC at the address listed in M21-1MR, Part III, Subpart iii, 2.K.76.t.

  • *The time frame for the inquiry submitted to JSRRC

  • must be limited to a cumulative period of 60 days, but

  • may include different date ranges, as long as the cumulative number of days does not exceed 60.

Continued on next page

28. Developing Claims Based on Herbicide Exposure in the Republic of Vietnam (RVN), Continued


k. Considering Claims for Benefits Based on Birth Defects

Claims for


  • benefits for a child suffering from spina bifida and other birth defects are discussed in M21-1MR, Part VI, and

  • additional benefits for female Vietnam Veterans due to certain birth defects of a natural child have been authorized under PL 106-419.


Important: The law limits the birth defects for which VA may pay benefits. Deny claims for compensation for the following on the basis that it is not authorized by law:

  • birth defects resulting from a familial disorder

  • a birth-related injury, or

  • a fetal or neonatal infirmity, with well-established, unrelated causes.


Reference: For more information on claims for benefits for birth defects from children of Vietnam Veterans, see

  • M21-1MR, Part VI

  • 38 CFR 3.814

  • 38 CFR 3.815, and

  • 38 U.S.C. Chapter 18.



29. Developing Claims for Service Connection for Asbestos-Related Diseases




Introduction

This topic contains information on developing claims for service connection for asbestos-related diseases, including


  • considering the latent period and type of asbestos exposure

  • the responsibilities of the rating activity, and

  • the action to take when no disability is claimed.



Change Date

July 20, 2009



a. Considering the Latent Period and Type of Asbestos Exposure

Many people with asbestos-related diseases have only recently come to medical attention because the latent period varies from 10 to 45 or more years between the first exposure and development of a disease.
Note: The exposure may have been direct or indirect; the extent and duration of exposure is not a factor.
Reference: For more information on asbestos-related diseases, see M21-1MR, IV, Subpart ii, 2.C.9.



b. Responsibilities of the Rating Activity

The rating activity is responsible for


  • determining whether or not the evidence of record confirms the Veteran was exposed to asbestos during service, and

  • ensuring that development is accomplished to determine whether the Veteran was exposed to asbestos (as a result of his/her occupation, for example) before or after service.

Continued on next page

29. Developing Claims for Service Connection for Asbestos-Related Diseases, Continued


c. Action to Take When No Disability Is Claimed

A claim is not substantially complete if a Veteran alleges exposure to asbestos during service, but does not claim service connection for a specific disability. In cases such as this


  • inform the Veteran that exposure, in and of itself, is not a disability, and

  • ask the Veteran to identify the disability(ies) that resulted from exposure to asbestos during service.


Important:

  • Do not

  • process the claim as a denial, or

  • establish end product (EP) control for the incomplete claim.

  • Whenever possible, telephone the Veteran to obtain the information needed to substantiate the claim.


Reference: For more information on what constitutes a substantially complete application, see

  • 38 CFR 3.159(a)(3), and

  • M21-1MR, Part I, 1.B.3.a.


30. Developing Claims for Service Connection for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)




Introduction

This topic contains information on developing claims for service connection for acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), including


  • the definition of AIDS

  • the causative agent of AIDS

  • the tests available to verify AIDS

  • obtaining medical records, and

  • when to send the claim to the rating activity.



Change Date

July 20, 2009



a. Definition: AIDS

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is defined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as “a disease at least moderately predictive of a defect in cell-mediated immunity occurring in a person with no known cause for diminished resistance to that disease.”



b. Causative Agent of AIDS

AIDS is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).



c. Tests Available to Verify AIDS

The most commonly used lab test for AIDS is the HIV antibody test.
The following two HIV antibody tests are available:


  • the screening enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test, and

  • the confirmatory Western Blot test.

Continued on next page

30. Developing Claims for Service Connection for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), Continued


d. Obtaining Medical Records

Request


  • service treatment records (STRs) if they are not in the claims folder, and

  • records of treatment from a VAMC or VA outpatient clinic, if the Veteran indicates that he/she received treatment at one of these facilities.

Send the Veteran VA Form 21-4142, Authorization and Consent to Release Information to the Department of Veterans Affairs(VA,) if he/she




  • reports treatment by a private hospital or physician, but

  • does not furnish the treatment records.



e. When to Send the Claim to the Rating Activity

If a substantially complete claim exists, send the claim to the rating activity.
Reference: For information on what constitutes a substantially complete claim, see

  • M21-1MR, Part I, 1.B.3.a, and

  • 38 CFR 3.159(a)(3).



31. Developing Claims Based on Participation in Special Operations Incidents



Introduction

This topic contains information on developing claims based on participation in Special Operations incidents, including


  • a definition of Special Operations

  • developing Special Operations incidents

  • the language to use for developing Special Operations incidents

  • an example of a “Special Operations Forces Incident” document

  • responses from the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), and

  • classified service records.


Change Date

March 20, 2011


a. Definition: Special Operations

Special Operations are small-scale covert or overt military operations of an unorthodox and frequently high-risk nature, undertaken to achieve significant political or military objectives in support of foreign policy.
Special Operations units


  • are typically composed of relatively small groups of highly trained, armed personnel, and

  • are often transported by helicopter, small boats, or submarines, or parachute from aircraft for stealthy infiltration by land.


Examples:

  • U.S. Army’s Special Forces, commonly called the “Green Berets.”

  • U.S. Navy SEALs.


Note: Some Special Operations, such as counter-terrorism actions, may be carried out domestically under certain circumstances.

Continued on next page

31. Developing Claims Based on Participation in Special Operations Incidents, Continued


b. Developing Special Operations Incidents

The table below shows the development action to take when a Veteran claims that an injury or disability occurred during a Special Operations assignment.




Step

Action

1

Send a 38 U.S.C. 5103 (“VCAA”) letter to the Veteran that includes the language shown in M21-1MR, Part IV, Subpart ii, 1.H.30.c.

2

After waiting 30 days, did VA receive the Veteran’s response?


  • If yes, go to Step 3.

  • If no, process the claim in accordance with standard procedures.

3

Did the Veteran provide at least the


  • location (city/province and country) where the incident took place, and

  • the approximate date (within a 60-day range) of the incident?




  • If yes, route the claims folder to the Military Records Specialist (MRS) to

  • complete the “Special Operations Forces Incident” document shown in M21-1MR, Part IV, Subpart ii, 1.H.30.d, and

  • send it via encrypted mail to VAVBASPT/RO/SOCOM.

  • If no, go to Step 4.

4

Send a 10-day follow-up letter explaining what information is missing and why the information is needed.
If the Veteran fails to respond to the follow-up letter within 10 days, or does not provide the information listed in Step 3


  • continue to process the claim and promulgate a rating decision with the evidence in the claims folder, and

  • in the notification letter

  • advise the Veteran that VA was unable to verify an incident in service related to the claimed disability, and

  • identify the information that is still needed to verify the incident.

Continued on next page

31. Developing Claims Based on Participation in Special Operations Incidents, Continued


c. Language to Use for Developing Special Operations Incidents

Include the language below in the development letter for claims based on participation in Special Operations incidents:
Tell us more about your participation in a Special Operations unit by providing the following information on the attached VA Form 21-4138, Statement in Support of Claim:


  • To which branch of service and component were you assigned?

  • What were the dates of your Special Operations tour of duty?

  • Provide the location (city/province and country) where the incident took place and the approximate date (within a 60-day range).

  • If you were not assigned to a Special Operations unit but were attached to one, indicate to which unit and from what dates you were attached.



Please note that if you fail to respond or you provide an incomplete response, this may result in the denial of your claim.
Note: If possible, use the Modern Awards Processing-Development (MAP-D) application to insert the language into the letter.

Continued on next page

31. Developing Claims Based on Participation in Special Operations Incidents, Continued


d. Example: Special Operations Forces Incident Document

An example of a “Special Operations Forces Incident” document is shown below.
Note: The RO MRS will complete as much information as possible and submit this request via encrypted e-mail to VAVBASPT/RO/SOCOM. Please allow 60 days for a response before sending a follow-up request.




Special Operations Forces Incident
Name of Veteran: _______________________

C#: ______________________

Social Security Number: ______________________
MOS/Specialty: _______________________

Branch of Service and component: _________________________

Rank/Grade: _________________________
Special Operations tour of duty dates: From: ________ To: _________
If not assigned, Veteran was attached to which Special Ops Unit/Service: _________
From: ___________ To: __________
Was the operation classified: Yes ___ No ___
List a brief description of the incidents reported by the Veteran:
Incident(s): Were the incidents classified: Yes ______ No _____
Date of incident #1 (60-day range): _________________

Location of incident: ________________________

Specific information regarding incident: ___________________________

____________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________
Date of incident #2 (60-day range): _________________

Location of incident: ________________________

Specific information regarding incident: ___________________________

____________________________________________________________



____________________________________________________________
Submitted by (print): _______________________

VARO: _________________________

Telephone number: ________________________


Continued on next page

31. Developing Claims Based on Participation in Special Operations Incidents, Continued


e. Responses From USSOCOM

Upon receipt of a request from VA, U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) will research each claimed incident and provide


  • a “sanitized” summary of its research, or

  • a negative reply, if it finds no information.


Notes:

  • The response will not include copies of documentation related to claimed incidents.

  • For certain incidents, USSOCOM may report that it cannot release any information.


f. Classified Service Records

Classified service records received from USSOCOM


  • will often be from a casualty report

  • may be limited to

  • the date of the injury

  • the location where the injury occurred, and/or

  • a brief description of the injury or illness, or

  • may only confirm that the Veteran participated in Special Operations, because the operation is still considered classified.


Note: Because Special Operations have the characteristics of combat, 38 CFR 3.304(d) will apply in all cases where a Veteran’s participation in Special Operations is confirmed.



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