Veteranclaims’s Blog

June 15, 2010

Filing an Express Claim

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — veteranclaims @ 1:36 am

This is an interesting concept, but we urge you to check with your attorney before filing this way. Below is the html version of the file with a link to the PDF file.

Full Form in PDF at: Gov. EXEC.

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FULLY DEVELOPED CLAIM
(EXPRESS CLAIM NOTICE)
(Notice to Claimants of Information and Evidence Necessary to Substantiate a
Claim for VA Disability Live Compensation)
VA Form
FEB 2010 21-526EZ
WHAT THE EVIDENCE MUST SHOW TO SUPPORT YOUR CLAIM
Generally, veterans are eligible to receive compensation for disabilities related to military service.
To support a claim for service connection, the evidence must show:
1. You had an injury in military service, or a disease that began in or was made permanently worse
during military service, or there was an event in service that caused an injury or disease; AND
2. You have a current physical or mental disability. This may be shown by medical evidence or by lay
evidence of persistent and recurrent symptoms of disability that are visible or observable; AND
3. A relationship exists between your current disability and an injury, disease, symptoms, or event in
military service. Medical records or medical opinions are generally required to establish this relationship.
However, under certain circumstances, VA may presume that certain current disabilities were caused
by service, even if there is no specific evidence proving this in your particular claim. The cause of a
disability is presumed for the following veterans who have certain diseases:
Former prisoners of war;
● Veterans who have certain chronic or tropical diseases that become evident within a specific
period of time after discharge from service;
● Veterans who were exposed to ionizing radiation, mustard gas, or Lewisite while in service;
● Veterans who were exposed to certain herbicides, such as by serving in Vietnam; or
● Veterans who served in the Southwest Asia theater of operations during the Gulf War.
Thank you for participating in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Express Claim Program. VA established the Express
Claim Program to expeditiously process claims certified by the claimant or his/her representative as meeting the Express
Claim criteria.
Express Claim Criteria:
1. For the purposes of this notice, your claim must be a rating-related claim for live compensation
(original, secondary, and increased disability service connection claims only) submitted on VA
Form 21-526EZ, Express Compensation Claim.
2. You must submit, with your claim, the Express Claim Certification signed and dated by you or
your authorized representative.
3. You must submit with the Express Claim Certification:
● All, if any, relevant, private medical treatment records for the disabilities you are claiming
and an identification of any treatment records from a Federal treatment facility such as a VA
medical center.
● For Guard and Reserve members, any and all Service Treatment and Personnel Records in the
custody of your Unit.
● If claiming dependents, a completed VA Form 21-686c, Declaration of Status of Dependents.
4. You must report for any VA medical examination VA determines are necessary to decide your claim.
Note: VA forms are available at www.va.gov/vaforms
This notice is applicable to any and all conditions claimed for service connection with your Express Claim. Upon
receipt of the Express Claim Certification, we will expedite your claim under the Express Claim Program. If it is determined
that your claim does not meet the Express Claim criteria we will process your claim through our
standard claim process.
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To support a claim for compensation based upon an additional disability that was caused or aggravated by a service-
connected disability, the evidence must show:
● You currently have a physical or mental disability shown by medical evidence, in addition to your
service-connected disability; AND

Your service-connected disability either caused or aggravated your additional disability. Medical
records or medical opinions are required to establish this relationship. However, VA may presume
service-connection for cardiovascular disease developing in a claimant with a certain service-connected
amputation(s) of one or both lower extremities.
If VA previously granted service connection for your disability and you are seeking an increased evaluation of your
service-connected disability, we need medical or lay evidence to show a worsening or increase in severity and the effect that
worsening or increase has on your employment and daily life.
To support a claim for service connection based upon a period of active duty for training, the evidence must show:
● You were disabled during active duty for training due to disease or injury incurred or aggravated
in the line of duty; AND

You have a current physical or mental disability. This may be shown by medical evidence or by lay
evidence of persistent and recurrent symptoms of disability that are visible or observable; AND
● There is a relationship between your current disability and the disease or injury incurred or aggravated
during active duty for training. Medical records or medical opinions are generally required to establish
this relationship.
To support a claim for service connection based upon a period of inactive duty training, the evidence must show:
● You were disabled due to an injury incurred or aggravated during inactive duty training or suffered
an acute myocardial infarction, cardiac arrest, or cerebrovascular accident during inactive duty
training; AND
● You have a current physical or mental disability. This may be shown by medical evidence or by lay
evidence of persistent and recurrent symptoms of disability that are visible or observable; AND
● There is a relationship between your current disability and your inactive duty training. Medical records or
medical opinions are generally required to establish this relationship.
HOW VA DETERMINES THE DISABILITY RATING
When we find disabilities to be service connected, we assign a disability rating. That rating can be changed if there
are changes in your condition. Depending on the disability involved, we will assign a rating from 0 percent to as
much as 100 percent. VA uses a schedule for evaluating disabilities that is published as title 38, Code of Federal
Regulations, Part 4. In rare cases, we can assign a disability level other than the levels found in the schedule for a specific
condition if your impairment is not adequately covered by the schedule.
We consider evidence of the following in determining disability rating:
● Nature and symptoms of the condition;
● Severity and duration of the symptoms; and

Impact of the condition and symptoms on employment.
Examples of evidence that you should tell us about or give to us that may affect how we assign a disability evaluation include
the following:
● Information about on-going treatment records, including VA or other Federal treatment
records, you have not previously told us about;
● Social Security determinations;
● Statements from employers as to job performance, lost time, or other information regarding
how your condition(s) affect your ability to work; or
● Statements discussing your disability symptoms from people who have witnessed how the
symptoms affect you.
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HOW VA WILL HELP YOU OBTAIN EVIDENCE FOR YOUR CLAIM
Express Claim Process
In order for you to participate in the Express Claim Program, you must obtain records and provide them to VA. VA
will provide a medical examination for you, or get a medical opinion, if we determine it is necessary to decide your claim. For
this program, VA will only obtain service treatment records and treatment records from VA medical centers. If you serve or
previously served in the Guard or Reserves, you must contact your unit to find out if they still maintain custody of your service
records (including your medical records). If your unit currently has custody of your service records (including your medical
records), you must get a complete copy of these records and provide them to VA.
If it is determined that other records exist, and VA needs the records to decide your claim, or if you do not provide us with
your National Guard or Reserve records as described above, then your claim will not be processed as an Express Claim.
Your claim will be processed in our standard claim process.
Standard Claim Process
VA is responsible for getting relevant records from any Federal agency that you adequately identify and authorize VA to
obtain. These may include records from the military, VA medical centers (including private facilities where VA authorized
treatment), or the Social Security Administration. VA will provide a medical examination for you, or get a medical opinion, if
we determine it is necessary to decide your claim.
VA will make every reasonable effort to obtain relevant records not held by a Federal agency that you adequately identify and
authorize VA to obtain. These may include records from State or local governments, and privately held evidence and
information you tell us about (such as private doctor or hospital records), or current or former employers.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
You must submit all relevant evidence in your possession and provide VA information sufficient to enable VA to obtain all
relevant evidence not in your possession.
Express Claim Process
If you provide VA information sufficient to enable VA to obtain relevant service treatment records and VA treatment records,
if any, and you give VA all other records relevant to your claim, the claim may be decided under the Express Claim Process.
This means that, if you are aware of relevant records that are not in your possession, you should obtain them and provide
them to VA in order to participate in the Express Claim Process.
Standard Claim Process
If you know of evidence not in your possession and want VA to try to get it for you, you must give VA enough information
about the evidence so that we can request it from the person or agency that has it. If the holder of the evidence declines to
give it to VA, asks for a fee to provide it, or otherwise cannot get the evidence, VA will notify you and provide you with an
opportunity to submit the information or evidence. It is your responsibility to make sure we receive all requested
records that are not in the possession of a Federal department or agency.
If your claim involves a disability that you had before entering service and that was made worse by service, please provide
any information or evidence in your possession regarding the health condition that existed before your entry into service.
WHEN YOU SHOULD SEND WHAT WE NEED
Express Claim Process
Send the information and evidence with the Express Claim Certification. For this program, you must obtain and submit any
and all Service Treatment and Personnel Records in the custody of your Guard or Reserve Unit. If we decide your claim
before one year from the date we receive this claim, you will still have the remainder of the one-year period to submit
additional information or evidence necessary to support your claim.
Standard Claim Process
We strongly encourage you to send any information or evidence as soon as you can. If we do not hear from you, we may
make a decision on your claim after 30 days. However, you have up to one year from the date we receive this claim to
submit the information and evidence necessary to support your claim. If we decide your claim before one year from the date
we receive this claim, you will still have the remainder of the one-year period to submit additional information or evidence
necessary to support your claim.
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VA FORM
FEB 2010
21-526EZ
4. SEX
12E. PLACE OF SEPARATION
FEMALE
3. DATE OF BIRTH
MALE
2. SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER
FULLY DEVELOPED CLAIM
(EXPRESS COMPENSATION CLAIM)
OMB Control No. 2900-xxxx
Respondent Burden: 25 minutes
VA DATE STAMP
(DO NOT WRITE IN THIS SPACE)
IMPORTANT: Please read the Privacy Act and Respondent Burden on the back before completing the form.
This claim must be submitted along with the attached, “Express Claim Certification.”
SECTION I: TO BE COMPLETED BY VETERAN
7A. CURRENT ADDRESS
5. HAVE YOU EVER FILED A CLAIM WITH VA?
(If “Yes,” provide your file number
in Item 6)
City
Street address, rural route, or P.O. Box
Cell phone
Evening
7B. TELEPHONE NUMBERS (Include Area Code)
Daytime
8A. PREFERRED E-MAIL ADDRESS (If applicable)
NO
YES
6. VA FILE NUMBER
10. LIST VA MEDICAL CENTERS WHERE YOU RECEIVED TREATMENT FOR YOUR CLAIMED DISABILITY(IES) AND PROVIDE TREATMENT DATES
8B. ALTERNATE E-MAIL ADDRESS (If applicable)
YES
NO
11A. DID YOU SERVE UNDER ANOTHER NAME?
11B. PLEASE LIST OTHER NAME(S) YOU SERVED UNDER
mo
(If “No,” go to Item 12A)
(If “Yes,” go to Item 11B)
12A. I ENTERED MY MOST RECENT PERIOD OF
ACTIVE SERVICE ON
YES
NO
13A. ARE YOU CURRENTLY ACTIVATED TO FEDERAL ACTIVE DUTY UNDER THE
AUTHORITY OF TITLE 10, U.S.C. (National Guard)?
14B. WHAT IS THE TELEPHONE
NUMBER OF YOUR CURRENT
UNIT? (Include Area Code)
(If “Yes,” provide date of activation in Item 13B)
13B. DATE OF ACTIVATION
14A. WHAT IS THE NAME AND ADDRESS OF YOUR RESERVE/NATIONAL GUARD UNIT?
12C. RELEASE DATE OR ANTICIPATED DATE
OF RELEASE FROM ACTIVE DUTY
12B. BRANCH OF SERVICE
SECTION II: SERVICE INFORMATION
12D. DID YOU SERVE IN A COMBAT ZONE SINCE 9-11-2001?
NO
YES
1. VETERAN’S NAME (Last, first, middle)
15B. I PREVIOUSLY ENTERED ACTIVE SERVICE ON
YES
NO
15A. DO YOU HAVE ADDITIONAL PERIODS OF ACTIVE SERVICE?
(If “No,” go to Item 16A)
(If “Yes,” go to Item 15B)
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9. WHAT DISABILITIES ARE YOU CLAIMING?
B. DATE(S) OF TREATMENT
A. NAME AND LOCATION OF VA MEDICAL CENTER
Apt. number
State
ZIP Code
Country
day
yr
mo
day
yr
mo
day
yr
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I certify and authorize the release of information. I certify that the statements in this document are true and complete to the best of my knowledge. I
authorize any person or entity, including but not limited to any organization, service provider, employer, or government agency, to give the Department of
Veterans Affairs any information about me except protected health information, and I waive any privilege which makes the information confidential.
24B. PRINTED NAME AND ADDRESS OF WITNESS
PRIVACY ACT NOTICE: The form will be used to determine allowance to compensation benefits (38 U.S.C. 5101). The responses you submit are considered
confidential (38 U.S.C. 5701). VA may disclose the information that you provide, including Social Security numbers, outside VA if the disclosure is authorized under
the Privacy Act, including the routine uses identified in the VA system of records, 58VA21/22/28, Compensation, Pension, Education, and Vocational Rehabilitation
and Employment Records – VA, published in the Federal Register. The requested information is considered relevant and necessary to determine maximum benefits
under the law. Information submitted is subject to verification through computer matching programs with other agencies. VA may make a “routine use” disclosure for:
civil or criminal law enforcement, congressional communications, epidemiological or research studies, the collection of money owed to the United States, litigation in
which the United States is a party or has an interest, the administration of VA programs and delivery of VA benefits, verification of identity and status, and personnel
administration. Your obligation to respond is required in order to obtain or retain benefits. Information that you furnish may be utilized in computer matching programs
with other Federal or state agencies for the purpose of determining your eligibility to receive VA benefits, as well as to collect any amount owed to the United States by
virtue of your participation in any benefit program administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Social Security information: You are required to provide the
Social Security number requested under 38 U.S.C. 5101(c)(1). VA may disclose Social Security numbers as authorized under the Privacy Act, and, specifically may
disclose them for purposes stated above.
SECTION VI: WITNESSES TO SIGNATURE
SECTION V: CERTIFICATIONS AND SIGNATURE
23A. SIGNATURE OF WITNESS (If claimant signed above using an “X”)
24A. SIGNATURE OF WITNESS (If claimant signed above using an “X”)
22B. DATE SIGNED
23B. PRINTED NAME AND ADDRESS OF WITNESS
22A. YOUR SIGNATURE (Do NOT print)
VA FORM 21-526EZ, FEB 2010
RESPONDENT BURDEN: We need this information to determine your eligibility for compensation. Title 38, United States Code, allows us to ask for this
information. We estimate that you will need an average of 25 minutes to review the instructions, find the information, and complete this form. VA cannot conduct or
sponsor a collection of information unless a valid OMB control number is displayed. You are not required to respond to a collection of information if this number is not
displayed. Valid OMB control numbers can be located on the OMB Internet Page at www.whitehouse.gov/omb/library/OMBINV.VA.EPA.html#VA. If desired, you
can call 1-800-827-1000 to get information on where to send comments or suggestions about this form.
18.
SECTION IV: DIRECT DEPOSIT INFORMATION
19. ACCOUNT NUMBER (Please check the appropriate box and provide the account number, if applicable)
Generally, all Federal payments are required to be made by electronic funds transfer (EFT), also called Direct Deposit. Please attach a voided personal
check or deposit slip or provide the information requested below in Items 19, 20 and 21 to enroll in Direct Deposit. If you do not have a bank account, we
will give you a waiver from Direct Deposit, just check the box below in Item 19. The Treasury Department is working to make bank accounts available in
such situations. Once these accounts are available, you will be able to decide whether you wish to sign-up for one of the accounts or continue to receive
a paper check. You can also request a waiver if you have other circumstances that you feel would cause a hardship if you enrolled in Direct Deposit.
You can write to: Department of Veterans Affairs, 125 S. Main Street, Suite B, Muskogee, OK 74401-7004, and give us a brief description of why you do
not wish to participate in Direct Deposit.
SECTION III: MILITARY PAY
If you receive both military retired pay and VA compensation, some of the amount you get may be recouped by VA, or, in the case of Voluntary
Separation Incentive (VSI), by the Department of Defense.
21. ROUTING OR TRANSIT NUMBER (The first nine numbers located at
the bottom left of your check)
CHECKING
SAVINGS
20. NAME OF FINANCIAL INSTITUTION (Please provide the name of the bank
where you want your direct deposit)
IMPORTANT: Unless you check the box in Item 18 below, you are telling us that you are choosing to receive VA compensation instead of military
retired pay, if it is determined you are entitled to both benefits. If you are awarded military retired pay prior to compensation, we will reduce your
retired pay by that amount. VA will notify the Military Retired Pay Center of all benefit changes.
No, I do not want VA compensation in lieu of military retired pay.
YES
16A. DO YOU RECEIVE RETIRED PAY?
NO
17A. DID YOU RECEIVE ANY TYPE OF SEPARATION/SEVERANCE PAY?
YES
NO
(If “Yes,” complete Item 16B)
(If “Yes,” complete Items 17B and 17C)
16B. TYPE OF RETIRED PAY?
17B. LIST AMOUNT (If known)
LONGEVITY
TDRL
DISABILITY
17C. LIST TYPE (If known)
I CERTIFY THAT I DO NOT HAVE AN ACCOUNT
WITH A FINANCIAL INSTITUTION OR CERTIFIED
PAYMENT AGENT
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Your signature on this response will not affect:
● Whether or not you are entitled to VA benefits;

The amount of benefits to which you may be entitled;
● The assistance VA will provide you in obtaining evidence to support your claim; or
● The date any benefits will begin if your claim is granted.
I have enclosed all the information or evidence that will support my claim to include identifying records from Federal treating
facilities, or I have no information or evidence to give VA to support my claim. Please decide my claim as soon as possible.
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EXPRESS CLAIM CERTIFICATION
VA FORM 21-526EZ, FEB 2010
Date
Claim Number
Name
Social Security Number
Claimant/Representative’s Signature
Date

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