Are you ready to file a disability claim for your VA benefits? One of the key elements in filing a claim for the benefits you earned is your Service Treatment Records (STR). These are the medical records the military kept on you throughout your military career. They include all outpatient, mental health, and dental appointments. They should also include the induction and separation of service physical exams you had done. However, it is not uncommon for Veterans to not have a copy of their service treatment records on hand to reference during the claim process.
If you want a copy of your records for yourself, there are a few different ways to go about finding them.
There have been many changes over the years on where and how military medical records are stored. The personal and medical records used to be retired together in one place. Until the 1990’s they were sent to the National Personal Records Center.
Where are MY medical records?
Well, that depends on when you served and the branch of service you were in. They are stored in different places for different branches and at different places, depending on your end of service. This sounds confusing and difficult, but it isn’t.
In the 1990s, the military discontinued the practice of filing health records with the personnel record portion at the NPRC. In the1990’s, the Army began retiring most of its health records to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The other services started to file their records to the VA at around the same time. In 2014, the military services discontinued the practice of retiring the records to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). To determine where a medical record is located, utilize the chart below:
If your tour of duty ended after the dates listed, the VA Records Management Center, in St. Louis, MO, is where your active duty health records have been stored.
To request your medical records, call 1-800-827-1000 VA claims number, and file a request with the VA to get them. If NPRC does not have the medical record you need, contact information will be provided for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
What if I got out before 1992?
In this situation, your request is best made using a Standard Form 180. This is a three-page form that includes the complete instructions for preparing and submitting requests. It is a written, signed request that you must mail to the address on the form. This request will take some time to get results, so request your medical records as soon as possible!
There is good news about requesting your military records.
If you are a veteran or family member, you may now use vetrecs.archives.gov to order a copy of your military records. This site will verify all of your service information, and file a request for your records. The information you will need is explained on the website. It entails entering basic information about your service.
Important: You will be required to print, sign, and fax or mail a “signature” page to complete the request.
All of the previous methods are viable options to request your medical records. If you still cannot find where your medical records are kept or get frustrated trying to find them, you can file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). This is a formal request for ALL your military and VA information. Including the information on all previous claims made with the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA).
This request is filed with the VA, just like a claim. You can learn about How to file an FOIA here: https://www.foia.gov
Please note: Doing an FAOI request will take several months to get your records.
If you need help filing an initial claim, or help to file for an increase on an existing disability, VA Claims Insider is here for you! The worst thing you can do is give up. It is our mission to help Veterans file and win their disability claims. We have the resources and experts to get you the compensation you deserve!
We have helped thousands of Veterans by guiding them through our process to get the benefits they earned.
If you’re ready to get started here is the fastest way to go! See you on the inside of our Mastermind group!
*Much of this information was gathered from the VA archives website. To get more information directly from them, here is the link to do so