Claim means a written or electronic communication requesting a determination of entitlement or evidencing a belief in entitlement, to a specific benefit under the laws administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs submitted on an application form prescribed by the Secretary. (See scope of claim, 3.155(d)(2); complete claim, 3.160(a); issues within a claim, 3.151(c)).
(1) Initial claim. An initial claim is any complete claim, other than a supplemental claim, for a benefit on a form prescribed by the Secretary. The first initial claim for one or more benefits received by VA is further defined as an original claim. (See original claim, § 3.160(b)). Initial claims include:
(i) A new claim requesting service connection for a disability or grant of a new benefit, and
(ii) A claim for increase in a disability evaluation rating or rate of a benefit paid based on a change or worsening in condition or circumstance since the last decision issued by VA for the benefit.
(2) Supplemental claim. A supplemental claim is any complete claim for a VA benefit on an application form prescribed by the Secretary where an initial or supplemental claim for the same or similar benefit on the same or similar basis was previously decided. (See supplemental claim; § 3.2501.)
(q) Notice means written notice sent to a claimant or payee at his or her latest address of record.
(r) Date of receipt means the date on which a claim, information or evidence was received in the Department of Veterans Affairs, except as to specific provisions for claims or evidence received in the State Department (§ 3.108), or in the Social Security Administration (§§ 3.153, 3.201), or Department of Defense as to initial claims filed at or prior to separation. However, the Under Secretary for Benefits may establish, by notice published in the Federal Register, exceptions to this rule, using factors such as postmark or the date the claimant signed the correspondence, when he or she determines that a natural or man-made interference with the normal channels through which the Veterans Benefits Administration ordinarily receives correspondence has resulted in one or more Veterans Benefits Administration offices experiencing extended delays in receipt of claims, information, or evidence from claimants served by the affected office or offices to an extent that, if not addressed, would adversely affect such claimants through no fault of their own.
(s) On the borders thereof means, with regard to service during the Mexican border period, the States of Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas, and the nations of Guatemala and British Honduras.
(t) In the waters adjacent thereto means, with regard to service during the Mexican border period, the waters (including the islands therein) which are within 750 nautical miles (863 statute miles) of the coast of the mainland of Mexico.
(u) Section 306 pension means those disability and death pension programs in effect on December 31, 1978, which arose out of Pub. L. 86–211; 73 Stat. 432.
(v) Old-Law pension means the disability and death pension programs that were in effect on June 30, 1960. Also known as protected pension, i.e., protected under section 9(b) of the Veteran's Pension Act of 1959 (Pub. L. 86–211; 73 Stat. 432).
(w) Improved pension means the disability and death pension programs becoming effective January 1, 1979, under authority of Pub. L. 95–588; 92 Stat. 2497.
(x) Service pension is the name given to Spanish-American War pension. It is referred to as a service pension because entitlement is based solely on service without regard to nonservice-connected disability, income and net worth.
(y) Former prisoner of war. The term former prisoner of war means a person who, while serving in the active military, naval, air, or space service, was forcibly detained or interned in the line of duty by an enemy or foreign government, the agents of either, or a hostile force.
(1) Decisions based on service department findings. The Department of Veterans Affairs shall accept the findings of the appropriate service department that a person was a prisoner of war during a period of war unless a reasonable basis exists for questioning it. Such findings shall be accepted only when detention or internment is by an enemy government or its agents.
(2) Other decisions. In all other situations, including those in which the Department of Veterans Affairs cannot accept the service department findings, the following factors shall be used to determine prisoner of war status:
(i) Circumstances of detention or internment. To be considered a former prisoner of war, a serviceperson must have been forcibly detained or interned under circumstances comparable to those under which persons generally have been forcibly detained or interned by enemy governments during periods of war. Such circumstances include, but are not limited to, physical hardships or abuse, psychological hardships or abuse, malnutrition, and unsanitary conditions. Each individual member of a particular group of detainees or internees shall, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, be considered to have experienced the same circumstances as those experienced by the group.
(ii) Reason for detainment or internment. The reason for which a serviceperson was detained or interned is immaterial in determining POW status, except that a serviceperson who is detained or interned by a foreign government for an alleged violation of its laws is not entitled to be considered a former POW on the basis of that period of detention or internment, unless the charges are a sham intended to legitimize the period of detention or internment.
(3) Central Office approval. The Director of the Compensation Service, VA Central Office, shall approve all VA regional office determinations establishing or denying POW status, with the exception of those service department determinations accepted under paragraph (y)(1) of this section.
(4) In line of duty. The Department of Veterans Affairs shall consider that a serviceperson was forcibly detained or interned in line of duty unless the evidence of record discloses that forcible detainment or internment was the proximate result of the serviceperson's own willful misconduct.
(5) Hostile force. The term hostile force means any entity other than an enemy or foreign government or the agents of either whose actions are taken to further or enhance anti-American military, political or economic objectives or views, or to attempt to embarrass the United States.
(z) Nursing home means
(1) Any extended care facility which is licensed by a State to provide skilled or intermediate-level nursing care,
(2) A nursing home care unit in a State veterans' home which is approved for payment under 38 U.S.C. 1742, or
(3) A Department of Veterans Affairs Nursing Home Care Unit.


38 CFR § 3.1

Scoping language

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