VA Disability Claims Process and Timeline: A Step-by-Step Guide (2023)

In this post, we will answer all your questions abouta VA claims process and how long it takes to get your VA disability rating.

If you are a veteran who was injured or became ill while serving in our country, you may be eligible for disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

However, the process of applying for and receiving these benefits can be confusing, so we've created this step-by-step guide to help make things a little easier.

In this guide, we will discuss the VA Disability Claims Program and the process required to obtain your VA Disability Rating.

They existEight different steps of the VA disability claims processand we'll talk about how long each one usually takes. We'll also provide some tips on how to make the process as smooth as possible.

So if you're interested in learning more about the VA disability claims schedule, keep reading!

How long does it take the VA to make a decision?

On average, it takes about106 business daysto complete disability-related claims.

Why is it important to file a complaint?

You have a disability caused by your service to our country. She went to her local VA hospital and received treatment for this disability.

Your doctors know and have talked to you about your disability, but despite this, you still have no disability-related benefits. Why is this?

  1. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) takes care of your health, while the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) is responsible for all the benefits you receive for your disabilities.
  2. The VA requires that you officially file a claim with your local regional office before you can begin receiving benefits.

What are the steps in the VA disability claim process?

Step 1: The claim is received

  • The VA will notify you when it has received your disability claim.
    • si presentasteconnectedyou will receive a message after sending.
    • And youShippingyour application, the VA will send you a letter within 7-14 days

Full Turnaround Time: Immediately after completing online or within 14 business days if mailed.

Step 2: Initial review

  • A Veterans Service Representative (VSR) will review your claim, and VA may need more evidence to support it. This is where he will continue to move to step 3.

Total delivery time: normally 7 to 21 working days.

Step 3: Collection of Evidence

During this step, the VA can do the following three things:

  • Ask for evidence from you, health care providers, government agencies, or others.
  • Schedule a Compensation and Pension (C&P) exam.
  • Transfer your claim to a Veterans Classification Service Representative (RVSR).

If they need more information during the review, your complaint may come back to this step, sometimes even more than once.

Total Lead Time: Typically 30-60 business days.

Step 4: Evidence Review

  • At this point, all necessary information has been received and will be reviewed by the designated VSR for your claim.
  • If the VSR believes that evidence is missing or more information is needed, they can return to Step 3.

Total Delivery Time: Typical 7-14 business days.

VA Disability Claims Process and Timeline: A Step-by-Step Guide (1)

Step 5: Preparation for the Decision

  • The entire VA disability claim file will be sent to the RVSR.
  • The RVSR will review the application and all supporting evidence and then begin the process of preparing the necessary documents to detail the decision it has made.

Total delivery time: normally 7 to 14 business days.

(Video) VA Disability Claim Process 2020 | The 8 Stages Explained

Step 6: Approval of Pending Decision

This step is when the RVSR's recommendations are reviewed and a final award decision is made for your claim.

Total delivery time: normally 7 to 21 working days.

Step 7: Preparation for notification

  • Once a decision has been made on your claim, a Senior Veterans Service Representative (SVSR) will review the completed documentation and authorize the release of your award and payment letter, if applicable.
  • At this time the entire VA Disability Rating Decision Packet will be mailed to you.

Total delivery time: normally 7 to 21 working days.

Step 8: Completed claim

This is the final step in the entire claim process, and where the claim will be officially closed and the VA will mail your disability claim decision packet to you.

Full Delivery Time: You should receive your package in the mail within 14 business days.

What types of evidence will help make my claim successful?

When you apply for VA disability benefits, the success of your claim can often depend onthe evidence you present.This evidence must show that you meet the requirements for a specific disability rating under the VA Disability Rating Program.

To collect this evidence, you will need to know what is needed and how to obtain it.

There are three essential types of evidence:

  1. medical evidence
  2. put evidence
  3. Evidence of Expert Opinion

medical evidence

Medical evidence includes medical records for the length of your service, as well as any subsequent treatment for a disability.You can request these records from VA.

It is important to include all relevant information, even if it does not directly support your claim.

put evidence

Refers toStatements from people who have personal knowledge of your disabilitysuch as friends, family and co-workers.

These statements must include how the disability affects your daily life and your ability to work.

Evidence of Expert Opinion

This includes opinions from medical experts, vocational specialists, or even experts in a specific field related to your disability.

These opinions can provide valuable information about the impact of your disability on your life and career.

Gathering evidence for a VA disability claim can be a difficult and time-consuming process, but it is crucial to ensuring the success of your claim.

Be sure to include all relevant medical records, layperson statements, and expert opinions to build a strong case for your benefits.

What documents will I need to support my claim?

The VA requires certain documents to support all claims for disability benefits. You will need to submit or give VA permission to collect the following:

  • TuDD214or other separation documents.
  • Tuservice management records.
  • Any medical evidence related to your illness or injury (medical reports, x-rays, medical test results, etc.)

What evidence do I need to show to support my disability claim?

The answer to this question largely depends on the type of claim you are filing. Below is a summary of the evidentiary requirements for each type of claim.

original claim

That's itthe first claim you file for disability benefits. You will present aVA Form 21-526EZ.

(Video) How to File a VA Disability Claim

In certain cases, the VA may conclude that there is a link between your military service and your disability, even if there is no supporting evidence. This applies to:

  • A chronic (long-term) illness manifesting itself at a compensable grade level within one year of discharge,o
  • An illness caused by contact with pollutants (toxic chemicals) or other hazardous materials,o
  • A disease brought on by his time as a prisoner of war.

biggest claim

A request for more compensation for a disability than has already been awarded by VA, usually because a service-connected problem has worsened.

You will need to provide current evidence from a professional or lay person (someone who is not a trained professional), or from yourself, that your disability has worsened.

new claim

This is a claim to reopen a previously denied claim related to an existing service-connected disability.

It is recommended to presentNew and relevant evidence related to a previously denied condition that can be shown to be related to your active duty time.

Claim connected to secondary service

A claim for a new disability linked to a condition that is already connected to the service.

It is recommended to presentevidence of the condition you are requesting and information about the providers treating you for those conditions.

Supplemental Complaint/Appeal Form

Is the same asa new claim, if made more than 1 year after the rating decision, And it isan appeal if made within 1 year of the classification decision.

What is the difference between a fully developed disability claim and a standard disability claim?

The VA offers a fully developed claims opt-out program to help veterans receive a decision about their VA disability compensation more quickly.

The term fully developed statement meansYou have provided all of the information that VA requires when making a decision to approve or deny a disability claim.

This is the information you will need to submit to VA in order for your claim to be considered a fully developed claim:

  • VA Form 21-526EZ, Disability compensation claim and related compensation benefits.
  • Medical records and other supporting documentation that provide a diagnosis of your condition and evidence of a link between your condition and your military service.
  • Check with the VA to make sure you do not need to provide additional information to support your disability claim.
  • and other medical appointments as required by the VA.
VA Disability Claims Process and Timeline: A Step-by-Step Guide (2)

The VA believes the following evidence is appropriate for a fully developed claim:

  • Medical records related to the condition you are presenting with
  • Any military records related to your disability claim
  • Medical records that you do not currently have, but that VA may request from a federal facility (such as a VA hospital).

If you think the VA needs more information to make a decision, you can include letters from other members of the military, family, friends, police officers, or members of the clergy.

Is "notification readiness" a good sign?

Preparing for notice is the fifth step in the disability claim process. It is when you are nearing the final stages of a VA classification decision:approval, denial or postponement.

At this point, you can expect to have a decision, possibly in less than30 business days

The completed VA disability claim file (VA C file) is sent to the VA Veterans Ratings Service (RVSR) representative, who will review the application and evidence. They will then recommend a decision.

When will I receive my first payment after an approval decision?

If your decision notice shows at leasta 10% disability rating, you will receive your first payment within 15 days.

(Video) How to File a VA Claim on the NEW Website (Step-By-Step Tutorial!)

VA will pay by direct deposit or check. If you do not receive payment after 15 days, please contact the Veterans Helpline at 1-800-827-1000.

What if I disagree with my disability classification or the VA disability claim decision?

The Department of Veterans Affairs amended its appeal process on February 19, 2019.

Anyone who has received a denial or disagrees with their disability rating can formally appeal and request a review of the decision.

You haveone year from the date on your decision letterto file a notice of disagreement with VA. Appeal process options include:

  • Supplemental Claims – With this type of feature, you can add new evidence that was not previously available and is relevant to your initial claim.
  • High Level Review – If requested, a high level reviewer will re-review your entire claim to determine if VA can make a new decision based on an error in the initial claim or an error resulting from a difference of opinion between the reviewers.
  • Board Appeal – In this higher level of appeal, you are asking a veterans law judge at the Board of Veterans Appeals in Washington D.C. All the judges are experts in veterans law.

Learn more about the possible representation of your element

At Hill & Ponton, we understand that fighting a denied claim with the VA can be stressful. You can be certain of the connection of the service to your disability and you need disability compensation claim funds only to cover your basic living expenses.

If you have been denied and are appealing, we can help. Feel free to complete thisfree case evaluationon our website or review our eBookThe Path to VA Compensation Benefits Copyright © 2012Under of.

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What are the steps in the VA claims process? ›

What happens after I file a VA disability claim?
  • Claim received. We'll let you know when we receive your VA disability claim. ...
  • Initial review. We'll review your claim. ...
  • Evidence gathering, review, and decision. During this step, we'll do 3 things: ...
  • Preparation for notification. ...
  • Claim complete.
Feb 9, 2023

How long are VA disability claims taking 2023? ›

The VA estimates that it takes them 94 days to review a VA disability application. However, many cases take much longer than that. Here are some factors that can shorten or extend the time it takes to reach a decision: Type of claim filed.

How long does a VA claim take from start to finish? ›

As of June 2021, the average time it takes for the VA to issue a decision on VA benefits is 134.4 days. If your application is denied and you want to complete the appeals process, it will take approximately 125 days for a Supplemental Claim or Higher-Level Review and more than one year for a Board Hearing.

How long after C&P exam will I get a decision 2023? ›

After your VA C&P exam, and once your claim is complete, the VA estimates it could take 3-4 months before you hear a decision.

What are the easiest VA claims to get approved? ›

According to a recent Veterans Administration report to Congress, the ten most commonly awarded medical conditions that are getting approved for benefits are as follows:
  • Tinnitus.
  • Mental Health Conditions.
  • Musculoskeletal Conditions.
  • Scars.
  • Presumptive Conditions.
Jan 30, 2023

How far back will VA disability pay? ›

Generally, you are eligible for back pay from the first day of the month following your “effective date” for benefits. In most cases, your effective date is when the VA received your disability application.

How far behind is the VA with processing claims? ›

For veterans waiting for disability compensation, a huge backlog could mean waiting into 2022 and perhaps beyond. This backlog includes pension claims and disability compensation that requires a VA rating to process and approve.

How can I speed up my VA claim? ›

Veterans can file a Priority Processing Request using VA Form 20-10207 to ask VA to address their claim in a more expedient manner. In order to be eligible, veterans must submit documentation, if not already on file, indicating that they meet one of the following criteria: Experiencing extreme financial hardship.

How long does it take to get a VA decision letter? ›

If you don't receive your letter within 10 days, please call us at 800-827-1000 (TTY: 711).

How long after QTC exam can I hear from VA? ›

After your VA C&P exam, and once your claim is complete, the VA estimates it could take 3-4 months before you hear a decision.

Can I see my VA decision letter online? ›

Sign in to get your VA benefit letters

Sign in with your existing,, DS Logon, or My HealtheVet account. If you don't have any of these accounts, you can create a free or account now.

How do you know if you had a good C&P exam? ›

The best, and often only, way to tell if a C&P exam went well for the veteran is to read the exam report. However, VA does not issue the veteran a copy of the report unless they specifically request it. To do this, veterans can send a letter requesting a copy of their exam report to their Regional Office.

Can the VA make a decision without a C&P exam? ›

No, you do not do a C&P exam in order to file your VA disability claim application. However, the VA may require you to submit to a C&P exam as part of the VA's evaluating of your claim and reaching a decision. A C&P exam is an optional step in the veteran's disability claim process at the option of the VA.

What will be 2023 VA disability increase? ›

VA disability pay for 2023 increased by 8.7%. The new disability compensation rates took effect on December 1, 2022. See the current VA disability pay chart, and calculate your monthly compensation.

What not to say at C&P exam? ›

Don't Lie or Stretch the Truth. This is a big one. Don't ever lie or stretch the truth when it comes to your VA disability claim. At your C&P exam, you should think, look, act, and speak as you would on a normal day.

What does pending decision approval mean for VA disability? ›

Pending Decision Approval) If it is determined that more evidence or information is required, the claim will be sent back in the process for more information or evidence. (

What is Step 3 of VA claim? ›

Step #3 of the 8-step VA claim process is “Gathering of Evidence” and is typically the longest step in the process and takes between 30 and 60 days. You might see your claim move back-and-forth between various steps—don't panic—this is completely normal!

Why do most VA claims get denied? ›

If a veteran receives a rating less than 10%, they will not qualify for compensation, leading the VA to deny any financial compensation for their VA disability claim. Providing further evidence of your disability, be it more medical records, buddy statements, medical bills, service records, etc.

What is the most approved disability? ›

What Is the Most Approved Disability? Arthritis and other musculoskeletal system disabilities make up the most commonly approved conditions for social security disability benefits. This is because arthritis is so common. In the United States, over 58 million people suffer from arthritis.

What disqualifies a person from disability? ›

To qualify for disability benefits, a person must not be able to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA) earning up to a certain amount. If you are able to make more than the SGA, then you will not qualify. For 2022 the threshold is $1,470 per month. For an applicant who is statutorily blind the amount is $2,460.

Is disability back pay paid in a lump sum? ›

Back pay is received as a lump sum, while future benefits are paid monthly. Since 2011, the SSA has required that all disability recipients have a bank account to receive payments via direct deposit.

Does the VA have to back pay for disability? ›

What is VA Disability Back Pay? Veterans qualify for disability benefits before their claims are processed, but won't start receiving the benefits until after they are fully processed. The VA pays Back Pay for the period of time when the veteran qualified to receive benefits to the time the benefits begin.

At what age does VA disability stop? ›

Your VA benefits will last for your whole life. Even if your disability is classified as less than total and not permanent, if you've been collecting benefits for 20 years or more, the amount of your benefit won't go down.

How often are VA claims denied? ›

The VA denies around 30% of disability claims each year. It can be frustrating to learn that your claim for VA compensation was denied. You may feel like you did everything they asked of you and provided all the evidence necessary to get the disability compensation you deserve.

How to go from 70 to 100 VA disability? ›

Increasing your 70% PTSD Rating to 100%
  1. Method 1: Appeal the Decision or File a New Claim. The most straightforward approach is to appeal VA's decision on the original claim. ...
  2. Method 2: Prove Individual Unemployability (TDIU) ...
  3. Method 3: File for a Secondary Service Connection. ...
  4. Assistance with Your Claims and Appeals.

How to go from 80 to 100 VA disability? ›

All you need to do to seek an increase in your VA disability rating is to request the VA review your rating and provide evidence that your condition is worsening.

What is the VA fast track claims processing system? ›

The Fast Track program is a special, expedited claim processing system for certain types of claims for disability compensation. It typically requires a veteran to do a lot more leg work to prepare a disability claim than is required by standard claims processing.

Does preparation for decision mean denied? ›

Yes, Preparation for Decision is a good sign! This means your VA claim is progressing and nearing the final stages of a VA rating decision: approval, denial, or deferral. Generally, you can expect to receive a VA rating decision within 30 business days of the Preparation for Decision phase.

What is the average VA rating for depression? ›

Depression VA Ratings depend on the severity of a veteran's mental health symptoms, meaning, the more severe your symptoms, the higher the VA rating for Depression. The average VA Rating for Depression is currently at 70%, but veterans can be rated from 0% to 100% with breaks at 10%, 30%, 50%, 70%.

Where does the VA decision letter come from? ›

A VA Rating Decision Letter is the first letter veterans will receive from VA after filing a claim for service-connected disability compensation. The rating decision letter will notify you that VA has reviewed your case and determined whether the claim was related to service.

What is the difference between C&P exam and QTC exam? ›

QTC is a contractor for the VA that performs medical examinations for the VA. VA medical professionals who perform C&P examinations are VA health care providers whose sole job is to perform compensation and pension examinations for veterans seeking disability benefits.

How long does VA adjudication process take? ›

The processing of a claim for veterans benefits can take an average of three years to result in a final Board of Veterans' Appeals (BVA or Board) decision.

What is VES C&P exam? ›

#1 Q: What is a VA claim exam, also known as a Compensation and Pension (C&P) exam? If you've filed a claim with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for disability compensation or pension benefits, VA may ask you to go to an examination as part of the claim process.

Do I get a 1099 for my VA disability? ›

The DOD will not include the amount of the VA payment on the Form 1099-R. The VA does not report the payments it makes on a Form 1099-R. There are two general scenarios that describe a military retiree's situation when claiming a disability: 1.

What does a VA award letter look like? ›

A VA award letter will typically begin with VA stating, “we made a decision on your claim for disability benefits.” The letter will then guide the veteran through the details surrounding the decision and include information regarding the next steps a veteran may take now that a decision has been issued.

How long does VA verification take? ›

Within 24 hours, you will receive a text confirming you have verified your enrollment. If you don't reply within 6 days, the conversation will close and you will need to call the Education Call Center (ECC) at 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551) to verify your enrollment.

How do I find my C&P exam notes? ›

You can't get the results at your exam or directly from the provider. To request a copy of the exam report, you'll need to fill out a Freedom of Information Act or Privacy Act Request (VA Form 20-10206). You can submit the form by mail or in person.

What is a favorable C&P exam? ›

You could get a favorable decision under these conditions: The C&P exam went well, meaning you completed all questions, and the exam report was declared veteran-friendly. The attending physician reviewed all medical records and stated as such in their exam report.

How do I read my C&P notes? ›

How to Receive a Copy of Your C&P Exam
  1. Contact your local VA regional office;
  2. Call VA at 800-827-1000 and request an appointment to view your file; or.
  3. Have your representative request a copy on your behalf.
Sep 9, 2019

How do I ace my C&P exam? ›

Important Tips for C&P Exams to Remember
  1. Tip #1. Always Attend Your Exam. ...
  2. Tip #2. Know What the Purpose of the Exam is Before You Attend. ...
  3. Tip #3. Be Honest. ...
  4. Tip #4. Don't Downplay the Severity of Your Symptoms. ...
  5. Tip #5. Don't Exaggerate. ...
  6. Tip #6. Bring a Companion. ...
  7. Tip #7. Request a Copy of Your Exam. ...
  8. Tip #8.
Jun 28, 2022

Who makes the final decision on VA claims? ›

After the Rating Veterans Service Representative has attempted to secure all the records (or evidence) required by law, he/she reviews your file and makes a decision on the claim according to the law and the particular facts in your case.

What is the max VA rating for knees? ›

The highest rating available for residuals of the total knee replacement is 60%. A 60% rating will be assigned when there is weakness and severe pain with motion.

What is the COLA for disabled veterans for 2023? ›

In summary, all disabled Veterans will benefit from an 8.7% cost-of-living adjustment to their disability benefits from the VA in 2023.

How do I get the $16728 Social Security bonus? ›

How do I get the $16 728 Social Security bonus?
  1. Option 1: Increase Your Earnings.
  2. Option 2: Wait Until Age 70 to Claim Social Security Benefits.
  3. Option 3: Be Strategic With Spousal Benefits.
  4. Option 4: Make the Most of COLA Increases.

Can a 100 disabled veteran get Social Security? ›

A Veterans Affairs compensation rating of 100% P&T doesn't guarantee that you'll receive Social Security disability benefits. To receive disability benefits from Social Security, a person must have a severe impairment expected to last at least one year or to result in death.

How do I know if my VA claim will be approved? ›

Check your status, or. Contact your nearest VA regional office, or. Call us at 800-827-1000, or. Contact us online through Ask VA.

How far does VA disability back pay? ›

If the claim is not submitted within 1 year of discharge, all the VA Disability Back Pay that could have been received between the date of application and the date of separation will be lost. For example, Ben applies for VA Disability 9 months after he separated from the military.

Do most VA claims get approved? ›

The VA denies around 30% of disability claims each year. It can be frustrating to learn that your claim for VA compensation was denied. You may feel like you did everything they asked of you and provided all the evidence necessary to get the disability compensation you deserve.

What should I say at my C&P exam? ›

You should be honest at your C&P exam. Tell the medical professional specific details about your symptoms and how they affect your daily life. Tell them about anything you used to be able to do that you can't do anymore and why.

How can I speed up my disability process? ›

Here are some more ways to speed up your disability application.
  1. Requesting an OTR Decision. ...
  2. Requesting an Attorney Advisor Decision. ...
  3. Compassionate Allowances List. ...
  4. Terminal Illnesses. ...
  5. Presumptive Disability. ...
  6. Dire Need. ...
  7. Military Service Members. ...
  8. Contacting a Member of Congress.

What to do if VA claim is taking too long? ›

You have the right to file an appeal of the decision. Your first appeal is with the Agency of Original Jurisdiction (AOJ), typically your local VA regional office. If the AOJ denies your appeal, we can move on to the Board of Veterans' Appeals (BVA). The BVA examines the case and makes a final decision.

Can you see VA decision letters online? ›

To access their decision letters, Veterans can log in to and check the status of their claim. For more details, visit VA News.

Is the VA disability getting a raise in 2023? ›

Beginning Jan. 1, 2023, Veterans and beneficiaries who receive VA compensation benefits will see an 8.7% increase in their monthly payments—the largest increase in over 30 years. The annual COLA increase is tied to the Social Security rate change and is based on the consumer price index (CPI).


1. [2022] VA Form 21-526EZ Step By Step How TO Guide
(Hill and Ponton, P.A.)
2. How Long Does It Take To Get A VA Disability Decision? 100 Years?
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3. How Does the VA Disability Timeline Work?
(Jan Dils Attorneys at Law)
4. A top VA attorney explains the VA disability appeals process.
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5. VA Compensation Back Pay: How Far Back Does It Go?
(Combat Craig)
6. VA Rater EXPLAINS How To Increase Your VA Disability Rating
(Combat Craig)


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