Primary Sources

Statutory Law — Title 38

At their core, veterans benefits and the adjudication process are creations of laws passed by Congress. Title 38 is the section of the United States Code dealing with veterans benefits.

These statutes are generally cited as "38 U.S.C. § ___."

Chapters particularly relevant to the adjudication process include:

Regulatory Law &mdash 38 C.F.R.

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs implements the laws created by Congress through regulations.

These regulations are generally cited as "38 C.F.R. § ___"

Chapters particularly relevant to the adjudication process include:

Chapter 3 governing the adjudication process is in the process of being rewritten. For more information, see William L. Pine & William F. Russo, Making Veterans Benefits Clear: VA's Regulation Rewrite Project, 61 Admin. L. Rev. 407 (2009), and William A. Moorman & William F. Russo, Serving our Veterans Through Clearer
, 56 Admin. L. Rev. 207 (2004). VA has posted copies of the draft regulations on its website here.

VA Adjudication Manual M21-1

The adjudicators who staff VA's regional offices are generally not attorneys. The M21-1 manual is used by these lay adjudicators. The manual is being rewritten, and the revised version is denominated as the M21-1MR. Its most current version is available here.

VA Office of General Counsel Precedent Opinions

VA adjudicators can refer an issue to the Office of General Counsel for an opinion on a legal issue before deciding a case. These opinions are binding on VA, but are merely persuasive authority for the federal courts.