The VA disability claim process can be confusing for those still in active military service or for those recently separated or retired.
In this blog post, we hope to eliminate any confusion you might have by explaining what types of evidence you’ll need to collect to prove your disability and how the U.S. Department of Veterans processes claims.
For more information, we recommend contacting an experienced VA disability attorney near you. Continue reading to learn more about veterans disability claims.
What are the different types of disability claims?
The different types of VA disability claims are based on when your disability began.
- Pre-discharge Disability Claims: You are able to file for VA disability benefits if you are within 180 days of separation or retirement. You must be an active duty service member or be on full-time National Guard duty.
- Pre-service Disability Claims: If you joined the military with a pre-existing disability that was aggravated by your service, you may be eligible for VA disability compensation.
- In-service Disability Claims: Any service-related disability that began while you were in active military service is eligible for VA disability benefits. Keep in mind that disabilities from substance abuse, negligent behavior, and willful misconduct are not covered by the VA.
- Post-service Disability Claims: If you have a service-related disability that didn’t get diagnosed until after separation or retirement, you may still be able to receive VA disability benefits. For example, the disability may have arose from a service-related disability or be a presumptive disability.
- Special Circumstances Disability Claims: You may apply for VA disability benefits based on unique circumstances. For example, if you need surgery for a service-related disability, you may file for a temporary 100% VA disability rating.
How can I file a VA disability claim?
You have several options to apply for VA disability compensation:
- Apply online with an eBenefits account
- Print and mail in VA Form 21-526EZ
- Call VA at 1-800-827-1000 to have VA Form 21-526EZ mailed to you
- Apply through Benefits Delivery at Discharge (BDD) or Quick Start pre-discharge programs
A veterans disability lawyer can also help you through the process of filing for VA disability compensation.
What is a Fully Developed Claim (FDC)?
The FDC is a program created by the VA to streamline the VA disability application process. By law, the VA is required to search for service records, medical records, and other documents that will determine your eligibility for VA disability compensation. For this reason, it usually takes several months for the VA to process standard claims. However, you can get your VA disability claim processed faster if you file a FDC.
An FDC requires you to submit evidence with your claim such as your discharge or separation papers, military treatment records, and doctor and hospital reports. Any records held by federal agencies will need to be identified as well. A VA disability lawyer can help you gather the necessary paperwork to prove your disability to the VA.
If the VA discovers evidence that needs to be included with your claim, they will treat your application as a standard claim and obtain the relevant documents for you. This means that there is no risk involved with filing an FDC.
Who can help me file a VA disability claim?
The Kalamazoo VA disability attorneys at VA Disability Group PLLC specialize in VA law and have helped American veterans just like you get the disability compensation they deserve. If you require assistance with filing a VA disability claim or need help with VA disability benefit appeals, give us a call at 1-844-VET-LAWS.