Questions about the Department of Veterans Affairs

Questions about the Department of Veterans Affairs

How can I contact the Department of Veteran Affairs?

Department of Veterans Affairs Website:

The VA has toll free numbers for the convenience of veterans and dependents.

Benefits Information                                             1-800-827-1000

CHAMPVA                                                           1-800-733-8387

Debt Management                                               1-800-827-0648

Gulf War Helpline                                                 1-800-749-8387

Headstones/Markers                                            1-800-697-6947

Health Care                                                          1-877-222-VETS (8387)

Life Insurance                                                      1-800-669-8477

Mammography Hotline                                         1-888-492-7844

National Center for Homeless Veterans              1-877-424-3838

Sexual Trauma Hotline                                        1-800-827-1000

Tele. Dev. for Deaf (TDD)                                    1-800-829-4833

Veterans Choice Program                                   1-866-606-8198

Veterans Crisis Line                                             1-800-273-8255

What is the difference between disability compensation and disability pension?

  • Disability Compensation: A monthly monetary benefit paid to veterans who are disabled by injury or disease incurred in or aggravated during military service.
  • Disability Pension: A monetary benefit paid to veterans of a period of war who are permanently and totally disabled for reasons not the result of their own willful misconduct and not related to their military service. This benefit is income-dependent.

What are the types of VA Claims?

There are Four Types of claims:

  • Original Claim: The very first claim for disability benefits compensation or pension filed by a veteran. All original claims must be filed on VA Form 21-526.
  • Claim for increase: A claim for increased compensation for a disability already found to be service-connected.
  • New Claim: A claim for compensation for a disability not part of the original claim. Also known as a supplemental claim.
  • Reopened Claim: A claim asking for reconsideration of an issue previously considered and finally disallowed by VA (after more than one year has passed). The type of claim determines how much development is required by VA and/or the nature of the supporting evidence the veteran must submit in support of the claim. The processing time for a claim varies depending on the type of claim and the supporting evidence provided by the veteran.

How do I get a copy of my military records?

For copies of your military service records you may contact:

National Personnel Records Center
1 Archives Drive
St. Louis, MO 63138
P: 314-801-0800, F: 314-801-9195

You can also find out the status of your records by phone at the following numbers:

  • Air Force Records: (314) 538-4243 for service during 1964-Present; 1947 - 1963 (for individuals with the last names of A through Hubbard, James D.)
  • Air Force Records: (314) 538-4261 for service during 1947-1963 (for individuals with the last names after Hubbard, James D.)
  • Army Records: (314) 538-4261 for service during 1912–1959
  • Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Records: (314) 538-4141

Where can I find information on what is available to me?

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can Senator Warner expedite my application for benefits?
    • Priority processing is available for cases with documented extreme financial hardship, and involving terminal illness or serious injury from the current conflicts.  To consider expediting your claim based on financial hardship, VA requires evidence of your hardship in the form of either a statement from a creditor on their letterhead threatening legal action to recover a debt, notice your utilities are going to be cut off, letter from a mortgage company advising you may lose your home or a notice from a landlord that you may be evicted from your apartment.  If you believe you qualify for this priority processing, you can submit your supporting documentation to my office along with your request and completed Privacy Act Release.
    • For more information about the Veterans Benefits Administration’s claims inventory and backlog visit
  • Can Senator Warner assist me in filing my claim for benefits?
    • There are many organizations throughout the Commonwealth that are “chartered” by VA, meaning they are federally recognized by the VA Secretary for purposes of preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims under laws administered by the VA.  To find a complete list of these Veterans Service Organizations visit

Helpful resources:

Can’t find the answer? If you have additional questions or need further assistance, please contact our Richmond office at 804-775-2314.