The VA has released a FAQ which reads, in part:
"How do I know if any of my claims documents were destroyed?
You may contact VA on our toll-free number, 1-800-827-1000, or send an inquiry through IRIS.VA.GOV. You may also review your claims folder at your local regional office. VA electronically tracks documents for currently pending claims and can verify receipt of your documents through its tracking system. VA also retains your claims applications and supporting documents in your VA claims file. Public contact representatives will review VA's record systems to verify receipt of applications and supporting evidence.
If I believe that some of my documents are missing, what should I do?
If VA does not currently have one or more of the documents you submitted between April 14, 2007 and October 14, 2008 in connection with your claim for VA benefits, you should submit a request for consideration under VA's Special Claims Handling Procedures for Missing Documents.
10. How long do I have to submit a request for consideration under the Special Claims Handling Procedures for Missing Documents?
You have until November 17, 2009 to submit previously submitted documents.
11. If VA determines I am entitled to benefits, will VA pay me from the date I originally submitted the missing documents?
VA will process any missing applications or evidence resubmitted under these special procedures as if they were received on the date originally submitted, as long as the date of original submission is between April 14, 2007 and October 14, 2008.
12. What if the missing claim document was submitted before April 14, 2007?
To support your statement that you originally filed your claim before April 14, 2007, please submit any documents you have that show you previously submitted this claim..."
It ends with the cheerful but rather tardy advice:
"...You are encouraged to make a copy of your application and supporting documents before submitting them to VA"No doubt there will be more about this later.
- VA's official "Information About Document Shredding Incident"
- VA Watchdog's Shredder Scandal page
- Military Veterans' Benefit Claims Records Wrongly Headed for VA Shredders, U.S. News and World Report