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Medical Records

Definition Medical records, in the context of VA benefits, refer to the documented collection of a veteran’s health information created and maintained by healthcare providers. These records include a comprehensive history of treatments, diagnoses, medications, and other relevant data pertaining to a veteran’s physical and mental health. For veterans seeking VA benefits, providing accurate and […]


Medical records, in the context of VA benefits, refer to the documented collection of a veteran’s health information created and maintained by healthcare providers. These records include a comprehensive history of treatments, diagnoses, medications, and other relevant data pertaining to a veteran’s physical and mental health. For veterans seeking VA benefits, providing accurate and up-to-date medical records is critical to establish eligibility and receive appropriate assistance.

Key Takeaways

  1. Medical Records play a crucial role in determining eligibility and receiving VA benefits, as they provide evidence of a veteran’s medical condition, treatments received, and connection to military service.
  2. Veterans can request access to or copies of their military health records (both paper and electronic) through the VA’s official channels, such as eBenefits, My HealtheVet, or submitting a written request with Standard Form 180 (SF-180).
  3. Keeping personal copies of medical records, updating them regularly, and providing them to the VA when applying for benefits can expedite the claims process and ensure accurate assessments of a veteran’s healthcare and disability needs.


Medical Records is an essential term in the context of VA benefits, as it plays a critical role in determining a veteran’s eligibility for health care services and disability compensation.

These records contain comprehensive documentation of a veteran’s medical history, including diagnoses, treatments, and health conditions that may have developed during military service.

Accurate and complete medical records help streamline claims processing, ensuring that veterans receive the support and benefits they need and deserve.

In addition, these records highlight any potential service-related health issues that require further evaluation or monitoring, enabling the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide appropriate care and assistance tailored to each individual’s needs.


The purpose of maintaining Medical Records within the framework of VA benefits serves to ensure that veterans and their eligible dependents receive accurate and efficient healthcare services. Having well-documented and up-to-date medical records on file within the Department of Veterans Affairs facilitates streamlined communication between healthcare providers, claims examiners, and the veterans themselves.

This comprehensive documentation of an individual’s medical history, including any diagnoses, treatments, medications, and test results, plays a crucial role in determining not only the appropriate care required for that individual but also in determining the eligibility and accuracy of benefits, such as compensation for service-connected disabilities and access to appropriate healthcare services at VA facilities. The effective use of Medical Records extends beyond the provision of quality healthcare; it is also integral in substantiating claims made by veterans while applying for benefits or appealing decisions made by the VA.

For instance, when applying for disability compensation or seeking a higher disability rating, a veteran’s medical records serve as essential evidence of their condition and its severity. Furthermore, maintaining up-to-date medical records helps ensure that the veteran’s continuity of care remains comprehensive and personalized, as their medical history will provide context and guide healthcare professionals during the assessment and treatment process.

Overall, the purpose of Medical Records within the VA benefits system is to facilitate optimal patient care and provide the crucial evidence needed to navigate the vast array of available resources and services for veterans and their dependents.

Examples of Medical Records

Example 1: A military veteran who served in the U.S. Army suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of his deployment in Afghanistan. He applies for VA benefits to receive mental health treatment and counseling services. In this process, he submits his complete medical records, including a diagnosis from a licensed psychologist and details of the treatment he already received. The VA uses these records to determine his eligibility for benefits and to create a personalized treatment plan.

Example 2: A retired U.S. Navy veteran has a service-related disability caused by exposure to hazardous materials during her time at sea. To receive compensation and medical care benefits from the VA, she is required to provide documentation of her injury and ongoing medical treatment. Her medical records would contain information about her exposure, the specific injury sustained, and any related illnesses, as well as documentation of the ongoing care she receives from her healthcare providers.

Example 3: A U.S. Marine Corps veteran is in need of long-term care due to a service-related injury that left him partially paralyzed. To qualify for VA benefits, he submits his medical records, which would include vital information such as the circumstances around his injury, documentation of his diagnosis, test results, and treatment plans from his healthcare team. The VA will validate the information from the records, verify his eligibility for long-term care assistance, and develop an appropriate care plan.

FAQ: VA Benefits for Medical Records

1. How can I obtain my VA medical records?

To obtain your VA medical records, you can submit a request through the VA’s My HealtheVet website, or complete and mail VA Form 10-5345a “Request for and Authorization to Release Medical Records or Health Information” to your local VA Medical Center.

2. Can I view my VA medical records online?

Yes, you can view your VA medical records online through the VA’s My HealtheVet website. After registering for an account and upgrading to a Premium account, you’ll have access to your medical records and other health-related information.

3. How long does it take to receive my VA medical records after requesting them?

After submitting a request, it may take up to 30 days to receive your VA medical records, depending on the method used and the complexity of your request. If you’re requesting records for a specific purpose like applying for disability benefits, it’s best to start the process as early as possible.

4. Does the VA maintain my medical records indefinitely?

Yes, the VA maintains your medical records indefinitely. If you’ve received treatment at a VA facility, all the medical records pertaining to that treatment are stored in the VA system. As a VA healthcare beneficiary, you can request these records at any time.

5. What information is included in my VA medical records?

Your VA medical records include information about your health, medical conditions, treatments, medications, and any tests or surgeries you’ve undergone at VA healthcare facilities. This information helps the VA manage your care and serves as a basis for any disability benefits claims you may submit.

6. Can I share my VA medical records with my private healthcare provider?

Yes, you can share your VA medical records with your private healthcare provider. You can either give your provider access to your records via the My HealtheVet website, or you can download and print copies of your records to share during in-person appointments.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Electronic Health Records (EHR)
  • Protected Health Information (PHI)
  • Health Information Exchange (HIE)
  • Release of Information (ROI)
  • Veterans Health Administration (VHA)

Sources for More Information

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