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U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Search Tips

General Search Tips

VA Search uses keyword-based search. Search finds pages containing all the words entered, including stemmed word variations. A search for benefits returns pages containing any of the words benefits, benefit, or benefiting. Use double quotes around words to match the exact word or phrase (thus preventing stemming). Natural language searches such as Am I eligible for long term health care? may not yield the most relevant search results. Start with a few keywords like long term care and add words to refine search results as needed. For example:

health benefits

Finds pages containing stemmed variations of both health and benefits

"health benefits"

Finds pages containing the exact phrase health benefits

Use Boolean operators to refine search results

VA Search also uses Boolean operators. The Boolean operators are uppercase AND, OR and NOT. Enter search words using lowercase letters except when using one of these Boolean operators. For example:

When searching for portland or nurse, where or is the abbreviation for Oregon, enter the query as portland or nurse. If the search words are entered as PORTLAND OR NURSE, the OR Boolean operator will be used in search. Search for portland or nurse vs. PORTLAND OR NURSE. Both searches return results but the search for portland or nurse finds pages that contain all three words. The search for PORTLAND OR NURSE finds all pages that contain the word portland or the word nurse.

"health" AND "benefits"

Finds pages containing only the exact words health and benefits

"health" OR "benefits"

Finds pages containing the exact word health or benefits

"health benefits" AND eligibility

Finds pages containing both the exact phrase health benefits and stemmed variations of the word eligibility

"health benefits" NOT eligibility

Finds pages containing the exact phrase health benefits and do not contain stemmed variations of the word eligibility

VA Advanced Search Tips (Go to VA Advanced Search)

Advanced Search functions much the same as the regular search but provides these additional options
all these words:

Find pages with all of the words entered, including stemmed word variations

this exact word or phrase:

Find pages containing the exact phrase, not stemmed

any of these words:

Find pages with any of the words entered, including stemmed word variations

none of these words:

Enter words that should NOT be included in search results. Only pages without any of the words will be returned

this site or domain:

Specify a site name like www.miami.va.gov or www.va.gov/opa to search that site

selected file format:

Limits search results to the selected file format

results per page:

Specifies the number of pages to be displayed per results page

search/found in these areas:

Shows the sections of VA searched. Add or remove sections to VA search by checking or unchecking the box next to each section and clicking the Search button. If pages were found in a section, click the link next to that section to search within that section

Board of Veterans Appeals Search Tips (Go to BVA Search)

all these words:

Find pages with all of the words entered, including stemmed word variations

this exact word or phrase:

Find pages containing the exact phrase, not stemmed

any of these words:

Find pages with any of the words entered, including stemmed word variations

none of these words:

Enter words that should NOT be included in search results. Only pages without any of the words will be returned

results per page:

Specifies the number of pages to be displayed per results page

year(s) searched:

Shows the years that were searched. Board Decisions can be searched by year. Add or remove years to search by checking or unchecking the box next to each year and clicking the Search button. If pages were found in a year click the link next to that year to search within that year

Decisions available via sitemap.xml

Links to decision pages are available via standard sitemap.xml files. http://www.va.gov/sitemap.xml links to the sitemap.xml file for each year of BVA decisions dating back to 1992