VA Acronyms and Terms You Might Need To Know

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Dealing with the Department of Veterans Affairs can prove complicated. Understanding the terms, acronyms, and abbreviations used by the VA can make it easier for you to comprehend what they’re saying about your claim. Are you familiar with these key VA acronyms and how they’re usually used?

1151/FTCA

The VA Medical Malpractice/Negligence/Federal Tort Claims Act offers the ability to file a claim against the government when one of its members, including an employee of the VA, behaves negligently and you suffer damages as a result.

A&A

Aid and Attendance: these are funds added to your VA claim that allow you to pay for assistance with daily activities.

AMA

The Appeals Modernization Act governs how decisions issued on or after February 19, 2019 are appealed.

AWOL

Absent Without Leave

Branches of the Military

Branches include:

  • Army
  • Navy
  • Air Force
  • Marine Corps
  • Coast Guard

BVA/”The Board”

The Board of Veterans Appeals governs VA appeals and helps overturn past decisions made by the VA.

CAVC

United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims

C&P

The Compensation and Pension Exam is the exam at which your disabilities are evaluated to determine the compensation you deserve.

C-File

The VA Claims File or your VA records.

Compensation

The award given for your loss, including injury and suffering.

CUE

Clear and Unmistakable Error

DAV

Disabled American Veterans

DBQ

The Disability Benefits Questionnaire, which you may need to fill out in order to determine the compensation you deserve.

DC

Diagnostic Code: the code used to label your specific diagnosis, which may determine the compensation and assistance you can expect.

DD-214/DD214

These are the forms used for your formal discharge.

DEA

Dependent Education Assistance, or funds set aside to help with the education of fully disabled veterans.

DIC

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation for dependents and widows: compensation paid out to the surviving dependents of a service member who died in the line of duty.

DL

Decision Letter, or the letter that explains the decision made about your claim.

DM/DM2

Diabetes Mellitus/Diabetes Mellitus Type 2, usually used to identify a disease acquired as a result of service or a condition for which you need treatment.

DMC

Debt Management Center, or the place veterans and their dependents can go for debt assistance.

DOD/DoD

The Department of Defense, or the larger governing military body.

DRO

Decision Review Officer, an officer assigned to review specific decisions related to your care.

ETS

Expiration–Term of Service/Discharge Date. This is the point at which your term of service has expired and you are eligible to separate from the military or choose to sign a new contract.

FOIA

Freedom of Information Act

GAD

Generalized Anxiety Disorder, a condition frequently suffered by combat veterans.

GSW

Gunshot Wound

GWS

Gulf War Syndrome, a chronic, multi-symptom condition that often impacts veterans who served during the Gulf War.

HLR

Higher-level review, when a Senior Adjudicator reviews a decision.

Housebound

Specific compensation awarded to bedridden veterans or those who require special assistance.

HTN

Hypertension or high blood pressure

IED

Improvised explosive device, or bomb.

IME/IMO

An independent medical exam or independent medical opinion, which you may ask for if you do not agree with the decision made by VA doctors.

INACDUTRA

Inactive Duty for Training, usually used for Reserves and National Guard.

JMR

Joint Motion for Remand, or a settlement agreement filed with the CAVC (United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims).

JSRRC

Joint Service Record Research Center

Legacy

For all rating decisions issued prior to 2/19/2019, veterans remain in the “legacy” appeals process, or the appeals process created before the AMA.

LHI

The LHI is one of the 3 VA contractors used to hold C&P exams.

LOD

Line of Duty

MDD

Major Depressive Disorder, a mental disorder often suffered by veterans.

MOS

Military Occupational Specialty, or your job in the military.

MST

Military Sexual Trauma

MUCMI

Medically Unexplained Chronic Multisymptom Illness. Some service members suffer from these disorders as a result of exposure to previously unidentified contaminants.

NOA

Notice of Appeal, usually used for CAVC appeals.

NOD

Notice of Disagreement: a legacy appeal form in response to a Rating Decision.

Notice of Disagreement/10182

Appeal to BVA

OGC

Office of General Counsel

OIG

Office of Inspector General of VA

OSA

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

OSTRSD

Other specified trauma and stressor-related disorder: often a mental disorder that is not covered by other common acronyms and abbreviations.

OTH

Other Than Honorable, usually used in discharge paperwork.

P&T

Permanent and total: a rating often assigned to a veteran that has a 100-percent combined disability evaluation that is permanent in nature (i.e. no new C&P exams will be scheduled by VA).

Pension

The monthly payment to wartime veterans that meet specific age and income requirements.

PMC

Pension Management Center

POA

Power of Attorney, or the legal power granted to make decisions on behalf of another individual.

POW

Prisoner of War

Presumptive

Often, presumptive information or conditions assume certain factors or inputs in the absence of other information.

PTSD

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, a condition frequently experienced by combat veterans or those in highly stressful roles.

QTC

One of three VA contractors used for C&P exams.

RAD

Release from Active Duty, also known as your discharge date.

RAMP

A period of time during which veterans could choose to voluntarily opt in to the new AMA framework.

RD

Rating Decision

Remand

A decision is remanded when it gets sent back to a lower level for review or reconsideration, usually as a result of changing information.

RO/VARO

The Regional Office

ROTC

Reserve Officers Training Corps

SC or S/C

Service-Connected/Service Connection

SMC

Special Monthly Compensation, usually awarded as a result of specific types of disabilities or needs.

SOC

Statement of the Case

SSA/SSD/SSDI

Social Security Administration/Social Security Disability

SSN

Your Social Security Number

SSOC

Supplemental Statement of the Case, or supplemental information added to the framework of your case.

STR/SMR

Service Treatment Record/Service Medical Record, or the past record of treatments received during your service.

TBI

Traumatic Brain Injury

TDIU/IU

Total disability based on your inability to be employed.

The Guard

Army National Guard

The Reserves

Soldiers who combine a military role with a civilian career.

USC/USCA

The United States Code or United States Code Annotated, also known as the law.

VA

Department of Veterans Affairs

VA9/Form 9

This is the legacy appeal form to the BVA, which is in the process of phasing out.

VBMS

Veterans Benefit Management System, which stores C-Files.

VES

One of three VA contractors that holds C&P exams.

VFW

Veterans of Foreign Wars

VLJ

Veterans Law Judge

VSM

The Vietnam Service Medal

VSO

The Veteran Service Organization, which provides a variety of services and support to veterans.

Are you struggling to understand the paperwork related to your VA disability claim? A quick look at these VA acronyms can help define them and give you a better idea of what they mean, where you might see them, and what they might mean for your claim.

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