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Veterans Benefits AdministrationM21-1, Part III - page 41 / 71

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February 25, 2005M21-1, Part III

     Change 131

g.  Referral to Central Office

(1)  If the three requirements of the initial review have been satisfied and development has been completed, including the receipt of the response from the DoD, refer the claim to the Compensation and Pension Service, Policy Staff (211), for review.  Include a cover letter briefly summarizing the following information:

(a)  Pertinent service information.

(b)  The circumstances, including dates of veteran's exposure.

(c)  A description of the disease claimed, including the specific cell type and stage, if known, and when first manifested.

(d)  Veteran's age at time of exposure.

(e)  Dose assessment as given by DTRA, applicable Service organization, or Under Secretary for Health as specified in 38 C.F.R. 3.311(a)(2)(iii).

(f)  Time lapse between exposure and onset of disease.

(g)  Gender, pertinent family history and employment history.

(h)  Veteran's history of exposure to known carcinogens or radiation prior to and after service, including smoking history and, if claiming skin cancer, exposure to sun.

(i)  Any other information relevant to determining the cause of the disease.

(2)  The Compensation and Pension Service will request a medical opinion from the Under Secretary for Health.  Referral to an outside consultant is also possible.  See 38 CFR 3.311(c) and (d).

(a)  The regional office will notify the claimant of the referral to Central Office.

(b)  The regional office and the claimant will be notified if the referral is made to the Under Secretary for Health.

(3)  The Compensation and Pension Service will furnish an opinion to the regional office directing either allowance or denial of the claim.  The written response of both VHA and an outside consultant (if solicited) will also be transmitted to the regional office.

h.  Expunging Classified Military Data.  Veterans seeking benefits in connection with exposure to nuclear radiation are authorized (see Exhibit B-10) to divulge to VA the name, location of their command, duties performed, dates of service, and related information necessary to validate exposure to nuclear radiation.    This authorization does not relieve veterans of responsibility for continuing to protect specific technical information that could contribute to the development of a weapon of mass destruction or the application of nuclear technology.  Information relative to military bases where nuclear weapons may be located within the continental United States is classified "Confidential."  Locations past or present outside the continental United States are classified "Secret" or "Top Secret."  The fact that a veteran inadvertently revealed such information in an application for benefits should not be compounded by further release within or outside VA in any manner.  

(1)  Any classified data will be cut out (rather than obliterated) from such records or statements.

(2)  A VA Form 119 prepared for the claims file and signed by the Veterans Service Center Manager or supervisory designee not lower than the Assistant Veterans Service Center Manager will cite the kind of evidence removed and the reason for doing so, and summarize or restate any other obliterated facts or statements not referring to specific military bases where nuclear exposure allegedly occurred

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