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What is VA C-File and How to Obtain It?

The VA C-File is a comprehensive collection of documents and records related to veterans’ military service. It contains discharge papers, VA medical records, and other personal information. Obtaining a VA C-File provides veterans access to important benefits such as healthcare, disability compensation, housing assistance, and more. This blog post will discuss what a VA C-File is and how to obtain it. We will also provide resources for veterans needing help obtaining their VA C-File. By understanding the ins and outs of VA C-Files, veterans can ensure they receive the benefits they have earned from their service.

What is a VA C-File?

The VA C-File is a vital collection of documents and records pertaining to a veteran’s military service. It contains discharge papers, medical records, and other private records. This comprehensive file is used by the VA to evaluate veterans’ claims for benefits such as healthcare, disability compensation, and housing assistance. Veterans must understand what a VA C-File is and how to access it in order to fully receive the benefits they have earned as a result of their service. 

Your VA C-File contains all of the supporting evidence considered by the VA as well as the rating decisions made by the VA for each VA claim you’ve filed.

Typical Size of a VA C-File

The typical size of a VA C-File can depend on the complexity of the claim and how long it has been pending. The file may be relatively small for an initial claim and consist of only a few pages.

More evidence and appeals are added to the file as the claim progresses. This results in a longer and more detailed claims file. Generally, older claims will likely have a larger file due to the evidence and appeals added over time. Additionally, more complex claims will likely have a larger claims file, as more evidence must be gathered and documented.

What Documents are in the C-File?

A C-File can contain various documents related to a veteran’s claim for VA benefits. These may include:

1. DD-214, Report of Separation from Service

This form includes information about the character of service a veteran provided and details about their dates and locations of service, specialties, medals received, and other key information from their term(s) as an active duty service member.

2. Application for Benefits

Any applications or claims that veterans have previously filed for VA benefits should be included in the C-File. This also includes appeals that a veteran may have made to an earlier decision.

3. Disability Benefits Questionnaires (DBQs)

VA forms designed for veterans to address details about their condition, such as symptoms, severity, potential causes, or how any disabilities are related to others, should be in the C-File.

4. Lay testimony and buddy statements

Veterans, their families, friends, ex-service members, and others can use a Statement in Support of a Claim, often referred to as lay evidence, a witness statement, or a buddy statement, to submit facts to verify a claim for VA benefits.

5. VA Denial Letters

If a veteran has had any of their claims for benefits denied, this should be noted in the C-File.

6. Rating Decisions

This document typically explains why benefits were granted or denied and can explain the disability evaluations assigned. These decisions should also appear in the C-File.

7. Code Sheets

This document provides details about a veteran’s disability rating, any benefits they may have received, and the monthly compensation amount.

8. Medical Records

Copies of service medical records, VA Medical Center and private treatment center records, and C&P Exam reports should all be present in the C-File.

9. Appeals

Suppose a veteran has filed an appeal to an earlier decision. In that case, the C-File should contain VA Form 20-0995 (Veteran’s Supplemental Claim Application), VA Form 20-0996 (Application for Higher Level Review), and VA Form 10182 (Notice of Disagreement).

All of these documents provide important information regarding a veteran’s claim for benefits and should be present in the C-File. Knowing what is in one’s C-File can help veterans better understand their rights and navigate the process of applying for VA benefits.

Why is it Important to Request Your C-File?

Obtaining a copy of your C-file is important because it allows you to review the evidence that the VA has considered in the past when making rating decisions regarding your disability claim. By reviewing your C-File, you can ensure the accuracy of the information that has been used by the VA in making previous rating decisions.

By thoroughly reviewing your C-file, you can identify any potential discrepancies or inaccuracies in the information that the VA has used in the past. This can be crucial in preparing for any submission of additional evidence. If you find any discrepancies or inaccuracies, you can take steps to address them and ensure that the VA’s decisions are based on the most accurate and complete information available.

How To Obtain Your C-File

Step 1: Download the VA Form 20-10206 and save it to your device.

You can either fill out the form online or by hand. If writing by hand, print the requested information in ink neatly and legibly, and fill in the applicable circles. This will ensure that your form is processed quickly.

Step 2: Fill out the form, paying close attention to Sections I, III, V, and VI.

In Section III, Records You Are Seeking, click the radio button for “Claims File (C-File.” If you would also like to obtain additional documents, select them as well. Complete Section IV, if applicable.

In Section V, Willingness to Pay Fees, enter a nominal amount such as “$50.00” even though no fees are usually required. Be sure to sign and date Section VI.

Step 3: You can submit your completed form via email to:

The VA will respond in 10-12 weeks and provide you with a secure link to download the requested files. You will also receive a CD copy of your entire VA C File. You can check the status of your FOIA request at, just like any other claim or appeal.

Average Wait Time on the Delivery of Your C-File

The average wait time for receiving a VA C-File electronically can vary depending on the number of backlogged claims within the Department of Veterans Affairs Evidence Intake Center. Generally, claimants should anticipate a 10-12 week delay before their C-File is delivered to them. This timeline applies to initial and supplemental claims and includes any additional requests for C-Files from subsequent applications within the same case.

The VA encourages claimants to be patient as they understand that obtaining a C-File is important in progressing the claim process. To help alleviate the wait time, it is recommended that claimants check their application status regularly and contact their local VA office if they have any questions or concerns.

How to Check Status on C-File Request?

Once you’ve submitted your C File Request Form via email to, you can log in to to track the status of your request. It will appear in your account as an open claim for “Freedom of Information Act / Privacy Act Request” within 7-14 days. You can easily monitor the status of your request just like any other claim or appeal on the website.

Need Help with Filing a VA Disability Claim

Vet Claim Solutions can assist you in filing a VA disability claim. Our qualified team of professionals has years of experience assisting veterans in filing their claims correctly and efficiently. We can provide you with a FREE, no-obligation strategy call to assess your disability claim and assist you in completing the necessary paperwork to ensure that your claim is properly submitted to the VA. Contact us today to get started!

We understand how important it is for you to get your C-file as soon as possible, and we are here to make the process as simple and stress-free as possible for you. We look forward to assisting you in obtaining the benefits that you are entitled to!


1. How do I request a C file from VA online?

To request a C file from the VA (which refers to your claims file), you can submit a request through the VA’s e-Benefits portal or by sending a written request to your local VA regional office. You can also request your C file by completing and submitting VA Form 3288 (Request for and Consent to Release of Information from Claimant’s Records) to the VA.

2. What is a C file from the VA?

A C file, or a claims file, is a collection of documents related to a veteran’s disability claim or claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). It typically contains information such as service records, medical records, and other documents related to the veteran’s claimed disabilities, as well as correspondence and decisions related to the VA disability claim.

3. How long does a C file request take?

The processing time for a request for a C file from the VA can vary depending on factors such as the VA regional office’s workload and the requested records’ complexity. It may take several weeks to several months to receive a response to your request. However, the VA has implemented initiatives to improve the timeliness of records requests. You can check the status of your request by contacting your local VA regional office or through the VA’s eBenefits portal.

4. How long does it take to process a VA disability claim?

The processing time for VA disability claims can vary depending on various factors, such as the complexity of the claim, the availability of medical evidence, and the workload of the local VA regional office. Sometimes, it may take several months or even years to process a VA disability claim. However, the VA has implemented initiatives to reduce claim processing times, and you can check the status of your claim online through the VA’s e-Benefits portal.

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