On September 25, 2014, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) published its Final Rule for Standard Claims and Appeals Forms in the Federal Register, Vol. 79, No. 186. The Final Rule includes momentous changes in how VA will conduct business. First, VA has abolished the Informal Claim. Old rule 3.157 no longer exists and Rule 3.155 has been extensively amended. VA has replaced the Informal Claim with a concept called Intent to File. The Intent to File is VA Form (VAF) 21-0966.
The Intent to File acts as a “place holder” – preserving the effective date for claims filed within one year of the Intent to File. There are, however, some very important details about how to use this new legal instrument that are crucial to understanding how this “place holder” functions. This is especially true when a veteran intends to file multiple claims after VA receives the 21-0966. Reading and understanding the new regulations – 38 C.F.R. 3.155, and allied sections, is vital.