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Title 38: Pensions, Bonuses, and Veterans' Relief
§21.1031 VA responsibilities when a claim is filed.
(a) VA will furnish forms. VA will furnish all necessary VA claim forms and instructions, and, if appropriate, a description of any supporting evidence required upon receipt of an informal claim.
(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5102)
(b) VA has a duty to notify claimants of necessary information or evidence. (1) Except when a claim cannot be substantiated because there is no legal basis for the claim, or undisputed facts render the claimant ineligible for the claimed benefit, when VA receives a complete or substantially complete application for educational assistance provided under subpart C, D, G, H, K, L, or P of this part VA will—
(i) Notify the claimant of any information and evidence that is necessary to substantiate the claim; and
(ii) Inform the claimant which information and evidence, if any, the claimant is to provide to VA and which information and evidence, if any, VA will try to obtain for the claimant.
(2) The information and evidence that VA, pursuant to paragraph (b)(1) of this section informs the claimant that the claimant must provide, must be provided within one year from the date of the notice. If VA does not receive such information and evidence from the claimant within that time period, VA may adjudicate the claim based on the information and evidence in the file.
(3) If the claimant has not responded to the request within 30 days, VA may decide the claim before the expiration of the one-year period prescribed in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, based on all the information and evidence in the file, including information and evidence it has obtained on behalf of the claimant. If VA does so, however, and the claimant subsequently provides the information and evidence within one year of the date of the request, VA must readjudicate the claim. If VA's decision on a readjudication is favorable to the claimant, the award shall take effect as if the prior decision by VA on the claim had not been made.
(4) If VA receives an incomplete application for benefits, it will notify the claimant of the information necessary to complete the application and will defer assistance until the claimant submits this information. If the information necessary to complete the application is not received by VA within one year from the date of such notice, VA cannot pay or provide any benefits based on that application.
(5) For the purpose of this paragraph, if VA must notify the claimant, VA will provide notice to:
(i) The claimant;
(ii) His or her fiduciary, if any; and
(iii) His or her representative, if any.
(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5102, 5103, 5103A(a)(3))
[64 FR 23771, May 4, 1999, as amended at 72 FR 16965, Apr. 5, 2007; 74 FR 14665, Mar. 31, 2009]