What is a fully developed claim?
A fully developed claim (FDC) is an option the VA provides to veterans looking to apply for VA disability compensation. Filing an FDC provides quicker decisions from the VA. Also, if proper documentation and medical evidence is provided, claimants should receive better results in their initial claim with the VA, potentially avoiding need for an appeal. The claims are generally quicker because the claimant, rather than the VA, is requesting and gathering needed records. It is generally easier and quicker for a veteran to request their own records than to rely on the VA to do so.
There is also no risk or harm to filing an FDC. If the claim is missing something, the VA will simply treat and process the claim as a standard claim. If an Intent to File (VA Form 21-0966) is filed, the claimant has a year to file the FDC and the claim should date back to the filing date of the Intent to File.
Rather than letting your claim be pieced together by a VA employee, you control and ensure that all needed documents are provided to the VA for review. We can help you obtain the needed documents and supporting evidence to provide to a representative for filing, or file with the VA yourself. Adding an independent medical opinion (nexus letter) or an independent medical examination (DBQ) to your FDC should help obtain a favorable initial decision from the VA.
What documentation should be provided in the FDC?
- Claims File/C-File (active duty records)
- VA medical records (after discharge through VA medical provider)
- All private medical records relating to claimed conditions
- Any military personnel records
- Support Statements
- Nexus Letters
- Medical Examinations and DBQs
What evidence is needed for my FDC?
In most disability claim filings, the VA will need evidence supporting:
- A current physical or mental disability
- An event, injury, or disease that happened in the service while active.
- A link (nexus) between your current disability and the event, injury, or disease that happened in the service while active. The VA even states that they need “medical records or medical opinions from health care providers to support this link.”
Vet Resource Group can help you obtain a nexus letter or a medical examination to add to your FDC to help maximize your claim success! We can also help you find an advocate in your area who can help you file the FDC with the VA.