(2) The Secretary is not required to provide assistance to a claimant under this section if no reasonable possibility exists that such assistance would aid in substantiating the claim.
(3) The Secretary may defer providing assistance under this section pending the submission by the claimant of essential information missing from the claimant's application.
(2) Whenever the Secretary, after making such reasonable efforts, is unable to obtain all of the relevant records sought, the Secretary shall notify the claimant that the Secretary is unable to obtain records with respect to the claim. Such a notification shall—
(A) identify the records the Secretary is unable to obtain;
(B) briefly explain the efforts that the Secretary made to obtain those records; and
(C) describe any further action to be taken by the Secretary with respect to the claim.
(3) Whenever the Secretary attempts to obtain records from a Federal department or agency under this subsection or subsection (c), the efforts to obtain those records shall continue until the records are obtained unless it is reasonably certain that such records do not exist or that further efforts to obtain those records would be futile.
(1) The claimant's service medical records and, if the claimant has furnished the Secretary information sufficient to locate such records, other relevant records pertaining to the claimant's active military, naval, or air service that are held or maintained by a governmental entity.
(2) Records of relevant medical treatment or examination of the claimant at Department health-care facilities or at the expense of the Department, if the claimant furnishes information sufficient to locate those records.
(3) Any other relevant records held by any Federal department or agency that the claimant adequately identifies and authorizes the Secretary to obtain.
(2) The Secretary shall treat an examination or opinion as being necessary to make a decision on a claim for purposes of paragraph (1) if the evidence of record before the Secretary, taking into consideration all information and lay or medical evidence (including statements of the claimant)—
(A) contains competent evidence that the claimant has a current disability, or persistent or recurrent symptoms of disability; and
(B) indicates that the disability or symptoms may be associated with the claimant's active military, naval, or air service; but
(C) does not contain sufficient medical evidence for the Secretary to make a decision on the claim.
(Added Pub. L. 106–475, §3(a), Nov. 9, 2000, 114 Stat. 2097.)