This article covers my best practices for contacting and corresponding with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
As a rule, I always mail original Aid and Attendance claims and Notices of Disagreement to the VA. Could you fax original claims and appeals to the VA? Sure, you could. But would you want to? I recommend avoiding the fax machine and here’s why.
When you fax something to the VA you don’t receive a confirmation from a VA employee that your fax was actually received. Instead, you’ll receive a confirmation that the fax went through. That fax could be sitting in a pile of other faxes for weeks or, worse, be lost forever.
When you mail something to the VA, do it Return Receipt Requested. Mailing something to the VA RRR means that a VA employee has to sign off on delivery, and then that signature is mailed back to you.
Here’s a tip for mailing RRR to the VA: on the slip that the VA signs, write your last name/ file number on both sides. If you ever have to convince the VA that you did actually meet a deadline, having a RRR with your name on it can only help.
When should you use a fax to correspond with the VA? If you want the VA to process VA Form 21-0845 or VA Form 21-22a within 72 hours, you can fax those forms to 215.991.1470. The VA is actually quite efficient at uploading those two forms to their online databases.
You can fax other correspondence to the VA, but I would strongly recommend following up with a phone call to confirm receipt. You don’t want to trust that the VA received your fax only to find out weeks or months later that they haven’t. The VA is serious about deadlines and if you are handling the claim yourself, take responsibility and call the VA.
In summary, mail almost everything to the VA Return Receipt Requested and follow up with a phone call to ensure delivery.
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