develop for such records, and ensure they are available at the time of the rating (unless it isreasonably certain that such records do not exist or that further efforts to obtain those recordswould be futile)
RVSRs should make a provisional decision based on the evidence of record. If required Federalrecords outside of STRs have not been received, issue the provisional decision and then requestthe Federal records. If private records have been requested only once, issue the provisionaldecision and then request the private records again unless it is clear a second request would befutile. Establish an EP 400 using the special indicator "OCR – Old Claim Review" to make therequest for Federal and/or private records
RVSRs will accept Acceptable Clinical Evidence (ACE) evaluations where possible, and rate onthe medical evidence of record in accordance with 38 C.F.R. § 3.326.Because the decision notification for Category 2 cases will inform claimants that a provisionaldecision has been made, it is not necessary to include such language in the rating document.In the “evidence” section of the Rating Decision, RVSRs will list all evidence considered, asnormal. The RVSR will also list evidence identified but not available at the time of the provisional rating. No issue(s) will be deferred on a rating document.
Other rating considerations for Category 2 claims:
For claims falling within the provisions of this guidance, the prohibitions against certain partialrating decisions found in M21-1MR III.iv.6.A.1.b do not apply.RVSRs will grant entitlement to service connection for the claimed disability at the highest justifiable evaluation level of disability based upon the evidence of record, as warranted.One year from the date of notification of the provisional decision, ROs will assess all Category 2claims and provide notice of a final decision to include appeal rights. Compensation Service will provide additional guidance in the future regarding procedures for the review of Category 2 casesafter the one-year period has ended.
All Category 1 cases will be processed as normal.For Category 2 cases, the following procedures shall be followed:
Before promulgation of the decision, local Veterans Service Organizations will be given afull 48-hours to review the rating decision. In addition, a POC (and alternate POC) shall be