23 July 2013

Check Your VA Claims File - Check for JSRRC Confirmation!

"JSRRC" stands for the Joint Services Records Research Center, stationed at Fort Belvoir, VA. The
JSRRC has other functions but the one we're concerned with is their role in confirming...or denying...a veteran's claim to have been exposed to Agent Orange.

Settling the question is no problem for Vietnam veterans because the law takes care of that via what is called "presumptive eligibility." If you were in Vietnam you're covered for the typical Agent Orange-presumptive illnesses.

For others, especially C-123 veterans, its is more complicated. The VA regional offices need to gather a lot of data, but at some point they almost always turn to the JSRRC for a report to verify the veteran's claim of exposure.

Early in our struggle, we noted the consistent denials of all exposure claims veterans put forward. I made an appointment with the JSRRC chief and visited in February to learn more about their operation and how we could submit official documentation to make their VA responses closer to our understanding of C-123 contamination. Needed - official US government documentation, because as archivists that is all they can work with.

Fortunately we had our stack of supporting information ready, it has been provided JSRRC and currently their responses to VA are closer to the facts as we know them. Today I added more documentation from the USAF Historical Records Research Agency and also two statements from senior US Public Health officials - USPHS commissioned officers are military officers, thus we have a nice set of two physicians backing up our exposure claims...in writing!

But if you turned in your claim any time in the last two years, you really should check your VA C-file. There probably is, or should be, a JSRRC report on you. That report needs to agree with your situation.

If not, submit a written request, stating your JSRRC response is incorrect and VA should request a restatement from JSRRC. Simple...but you have to initiate the request. Don't out it off!

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