The Researcher's Guide to VA Data

VA Information Resource Center

 

Veterans Services Network Corporate Mini Master File (VETSNET File)

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Overview

The Veterans Services Network Corporate Mini Master File (VETSNET File) is an extract of of select fields from the Veterans Benefits Administration’s (VBA) Corporate Database. The VBA Corporate Database supports the VBA systems used to administer Veterans benefits, including compensation and pension. The VETSNET File is a source for information regarding VBA compensation and pension benefits paid to Veterans and their beneficiaries as well as VBA disability ratings.

Compensation is a monetary benefit paid to a Veteran with service-connected disabilities (i.e., injuries or diseases incurred while on active duty, or made worse by active military service). Wartime Veterans who have limited income and are either unable to work or are over age 65 may be eligible for a pension benefit. Spouses and dependents of deceased Veterans may also be eligible for compensation and pension benefits. Detailed information about these benefits and eligibility criteria is available on the VBA website.

The disability percentage of a Veteran represents the average impairment in earning capacity resulting from the disability. Up to nine disability codes are contained in a record. If a Veteran has more than one service-connected disability, the overall percentage of disability or combined rating is determined through a combined rating process.

VETSNET File Data

The VETNSET File contains cumulative information on Veterans and their beneficiaries who receive VA benefits, including those whose benefits have been terminated. Data in the file includes disabilities; type, amount, and dates of benefits paid; military service branch and entrance and release from active service dates; non-compensation and pension benefits such as education and burial.

There are two types of records in the VETSNET File. The table below shows how to identify Veteran and Beneficiary records.

Type of Record Description Variable Value in File
Veteran Veteran records contain information about benefits paid to Veterans. PAYEE_TYP_CD = ‘00’ or ‘99’
Beneficiary Beneficiary records contain information about benefits paid to surviving spouses, children, and parents. All PAYEE-TYP_CD values except ‘0’ and ‘99’

The VETSNET file is a cumulative SAS dataset with scrambled SSNs. It is updated monthly and stored on the Austin Information Technology Center (AITC) Mainframe. Researchers may also request access to a scrambled SSN to real SSN Crosswalk.

The table below provides more information about the file.

Identifier Name / Location on AITC Mainframe Availability
Scrambled SSNs MDPPRD.MDP.SAS.VHA.VETSNET(0) Cumulative – use most recent file
Crosswalk for scrambled to real SSN MDPPRD.PRO.SAS.VHA.VETSNET(0) Cumulative – use most recent file

Veterans included in the VETSNET File are also included in the cohort of Veterans used in the VA/CMS Data for Research Project. Using Medicare and Medicaid claims data, it is possible to capture the health care utilization of Veterans who do not utilize VHA health care. A cohort of Veterans who have not utilized VHA care may be created from the Veterans and compared to Veterans who utilize VHA health care.

VETSNET File Access

The process for requesting access depends on how the data will be used. VIReC provides data access information through our collaboration on the VHA Data Portal Intranet site, including details on accessing the VETSNET File for the following data use categories:

  • Research
  • Preparatory to Research
  • Operations

The Data Access section of the Portal is available to researchers with VA network access by copying and pasting the following URL into the browser: http://vaww.vhadataportal.med.va.gov/DataAccess/DataAccessOverview.aspx.

Research Utility

The VETSNET Corporate Mini Master File provides information that is not available in other VA databases. Researchers use the information for a variety of purposes and types of studies. For example, researchers can use information from the VETSNET File to build cohorts of Veterans with specific service-connected disabilities. Guidance on building a cohort with the VETSNET File is available in the Using the VETSNET File section of this page.

At this time, researchers should use both the VETSNET File and the Compensation and Pension Mini Master File (C&P Mini File) to obtain information on all Veterans receiving benefits. The C&P File is an extract of the legacy Benefits Delivery Network (BDN).  The contents of the C&P Mini File are currently being migrated to the VETSNET system.

Documentation & Resources

  • VIReC Data Investigation: VETSNET File - VIReC analyzed the contents of the VETSNET File to provide descriptive statistics that could be useful for researchers. The file created August 1, 2010, was used in this analysis.

  • Code of Federal Regulations, Title 38 Pensions, Bonuses, and Veterans' Relief - Chapter I. Department of Veterans Affairs, Part 4 - Schedule for Rating Disabilities (38 C.F.R. § 4)

  • Additional VETSNET resources are available from this section of VIReC’s Intranet site. Researchers with VA network access can view these resources by copying and pasting the following URL into the browser: http://vaww.virec.research.va.gov/VETSNET/Overview.htm.