Critical to any VA disability claim is inspection and submission of relevant medical records that support your claim. You would think that all you have to do is go to the VA and request your records. You may think it would be quite easy, but often times its not as easy as you may think. Its usually advisable to obtain your “C file” or claims file which contains your entire medical and military history. Sometimes this file can be found in the Regional Office where you reside, but sometimes its not. Even if you get your C file it may not contain all the information necessary to pursue your claim.
Sometimes you need to request certain records from the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. Watch out for situations where your records precede 1973 since there was a fire that apparently destroyed many records here. You want to fill out SF-180 that can also be downloaded from the Web site of the Military Personnel Records (MPR) division of the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), at http://www.archives.gov/st-louis/military-personnel/standard-form-180.html. The NPRC is part of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). You’ll want to specify if you want inpatient and/or outpatient records and be as specific as possible so that you can get the records you need.