38 CFR 3.217 - Submission of statements or information affecting entitlement to benefits.
(a) For purposes of this part, unless specifically provided otherwise, the submission of information or a statement that affects entitlement to benefits by e-mail, facsimile, or other written electronic means, will satisfy a requirement or authorization that the statement or information be submitted in writing.
Section 3.217(a) merely concerns the submission of information or a statement in writing. Other requirements specified in this part, such as a requirement to use a specific form, to provide specific information, to provide a signature, or to provide a certified statement, must still be met.
(b) For purposes of this part, unless specifically provided otherwise, VA may take action affecting entitlement to benefits based on oral or written information or statements provided to VA by a beneficiary or his or her fiduciary. However, VA may not take action based on oral information or statements unless the VA employee receiving the information meets the following conditions:
(1) During the conversation in which the information or statement is provided, the VA employee:
(ii) Verifies the identity of the provider as either the beneficiary or his or her fiduciary by obtaining specific information about the beneficiary that can be verified from the beneficiary's VA records, such as Social Security number, date of birth, branch of military service, dates of military service, or other information; and
(iii) Informs the provider that the information or statement will be used for the purpose of calculating benefit amounts; and
(2) During or following the conversation in which the information or statement is provided, the VA employee documents in the beneficiary's VA records the specific information or statement provided, the date such information or statement was provided, the identity of the provider, the steps taken to verify the identity of the provider as being either the beneficiary or his or her fiduciary, and that he or she informed the provider that the information would be used for the purpose of calculating benefit amounts.