Who Can File A Va Disability Claim
VA benefits are designed to help U.S. veterans who suffer disabilities that are either a direct result of or aggravated by active duty service in the U.S. military. The VA keeps a list of specific criteria an applicant must meet, including the following:
- You must have served in active duty, active duty for military training purposes or served while training in inactive duty
- In addition, you must meet at least one of the following:
- You became sick or injured during the time of service not necessarily in combat or in the course of military duties
- You can show medical evidence that links your disabling condition with that sickness or injury
- You can show documentation of a medical condition that worsened during your time of service
- You can show documentation of a medical condition that is linked to your time of service but didnt appear until after you had separated from service
If you meet these criteria, its a good idea to apply for VA disability compensation. If you are a U.S. military veteran who suffers from a condition or illness that may be considered a secondary to a disability incurred in service, you may also be eligible for VA disability pay.
How Long Does It Take To Receive Disability Benefits Back Pay From The Veterans Administration
August 18, 2020 By
However, the good news is, once your claim has approved you will be entitled to back payment of VA benefits from the effective date of your disability the date you filed for benefits, or were diagnosed with your disabling condition to the date your claim was approved.
If your disability is determined to be related to your military service and you file your claim within one year of separation from active service, then the effective date will be the date you received your injury or were diagnosed with your illness.
So, what can you expect from the VA disability back pay timeline?
What Is Va Disability Back Pay
VA disability back pay is the monies owed to veterans from the effective date of their claim, to the date they were granted those benefits. Due to its backlog of disability compensation claims, VA can often take months or years to grant benefits. The longer VA takes to decide your claim, the more back pay it owes you to compensate you all the way back to your effective date. To calculate an estimate of your retroactive benefits, use our VA Disability Retro Calculator.
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What Are Unadjudicated Claims And How Do They Affect The Amount Of Retroactive/back Pay Benefits
An unadjudicated claim is a claim that remains open due to an oversight in the VA system.
This can occur during different stages of a claim. In the past , claimants would often file a morass of written submissions.
Buried in these submissions might be statements requesting service-connected benefits, constituting informal claims. Overwhelmed by all the busy text, a VA adjudicator might overlook or even ignore these informal claims.
In theory, upon the claimants request, these claims can be activated at any time, with a potential effective date relating back to the filing of the claim.
Unadjudicated claims can also arise during the appellate stage. For instance, a claim will remain unadjudicated if the VA fails to issue a Statement of the Case following the timely filing of a Notice of Disagreement.
Likewise, a claim will remain unadjudicated if the Board of Veterans Appeals fails to adjudicate a claim following the timely filing of a Substantive Appeal.
For effective dates, unadjudicated claims can be gold mines. Recall that effective dates are usually determined by the date of the claim. Therefore, if you find an unadjudicated claim in the file, which has remained dormant for years, maybe even decades, the entitled retroactive/back pay may reach as far back as the filing date of the unadjudicated claim.
See how much you are owed. Use our benefits calculator to put in your unique situation and see what your pay could be.
How Does Disability Back Pay Work
In the simplest possible terms, the VA is required to pay claimants from the date of their filing , not the date on which their application was finally granted. This is known as an effective date. Those who file a claim within one year of their discharge will have the day after their discharge considered the effective date. This removes any incentive to stall the process to protect the VA disability fund.
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Accurate Measurement Of Limitation Of Range Of Motion
Accurate measurement of the length of stumps, excursion of joints, dimensions, and location of scars with respect to landmarks, should be insisted on.
The use of a goniometer in the measurement of limitation of motion is indispensable in examinations conducted within the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Muscle atrophy must also be accurately measured and reported.
Youll also see the term Unfavorable Ankylosis, which is a condition in which the entire cervical spine, the entire thoracolumbar spine, or the entire spine is fixed in flexion or extension, and the ankylosis results in one or more of the following:
- Difficulty walking because of a limited line of vision
- Restricted opening of the mouth and chewing
- Breathing limited to diaphragmatic respiration
- Gastrointestinal symptoms due to pressure of the coastal margin on the abdomen
- Dyspnea or dysphagia
- Alantoaxial or cervical subluxation or dislocation
- Neurologic symptoms due to nerve root stretching
What Is An Effective Date
Your effective date is the date the VA will use to determine when exactly your back pay should start. There are a couple of different ways that the VA can determine your effective date. It can use either the date on which you submitted your VA disability benefits claim, or if your condition developed a long time before, the VA can choose to grant you back pay all the way back to the onset of your medical condition or physical disability.
If you wait to apply for VA disability benefits until a year or more after youve already separated from military service, its highly unlikely that the VA will extend your back pay to the time of your injury or disability onset. And if you apply for your disability benefits within a year of military discharge, the VA generally will only pay back benefits from the time of your discharge date.
The effective date for a disability that was either directly caused or made worse by military service is typically aligned with the later of the following choices: the date the VA received your claim or the date of onset of the injury or medical condition. In most cases, if the VA believes, based on the information presented in your claim, that your disabling condition is related to your military service this is known as presumptive service connection. The VA will consider your effective date as the date you received the injury or medical condition, as long as you apply for compensation within one year of being discharged.
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Va Supplemental Claim Disability Back Pay
A new lane for disability claim appeals allows the veteran to present new information which was not used in the initial claim. Supplemental claims are closely tied with increased ratings because the new information provided could change the initial decision. As long as a supplemental claim is filed within one year of receiving VAs decision letter, the effective date remains the date of the initial claim. Therefore, if a veterans supplemental claim is approved, they may receive large VA retro payments that can cover the span of multiple years.
If the veteran waits more than a year to file a supplemental claim for a VA decision, the new effective date will be the date the supplemental claim was filed. This could result in a substantial loss of disability benefits for the veteran.
When Will You Receive Your Funds
You should receive your funds within 15 days of receiving your award letter from the VA, depending on how you choose to be paid. Checks are sent out at the beginning of the month for the previous months benefits.
Direct deposit authorization helps speed up the process and prevents lost checks. You should receive a direct deposit enrollment form with your award letter.
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When Filing The Initial Va Compensation Claim
When you apply for VA compensation for service-connected medical issues for the first time, you will need to list all the medical issues, illnesses, and conditions you think may be compensable by the VA.
Youll be asked about a series of presumptive conditions such as symptoms of Agent Orange exposure, military service related to burn pits, depleted uranium, and military service at Camp Lejeune, just to name a few.
You wont be required to provide all your supporting documentation at the time you fill out your claim, but expect to submit your military medical records, and any records that pertain to out-of-network care, civilian care, etc.
What If I Need Help
Filing a claim with the VA can be stressful and confusing. Veterans Guardian VA Claim Consulting can support you in filing a VA claim. Our team will guide you through the paperwork and prepare you for a meeting with the VAs representatives, so there arent any surprises when the time comes. Fill out the form on our Contact Us page for a free consultation.
Contact Tuley Law Office Today
At Tuley Law Office, we specialize in veterans disability benefits. If you are a veteran of the United States military and have questions about receiving VA back pay, contact the attorneys at Tuley Law Office today. Applying for benefits and receiving the back pay you deserve can be a challenge, but our experienced legal team can answer questions you may have about the process.
What Is An Intent To File
An intent to file notifies the VA that you plan to submit a claim for VA benefits. As a result, the VA will reserve the date of the intent to file as a potential start date for benefits. Why is the intent to file necessary? By locking in the potential start date, or effective date, an intent to file helps get you the earliest possible VA back pay if your claim is approved.
When starting your application online through the VA.gov portal, the system automatically generates and submits an intent to file. The VA receives notification, and no further action is required on your part. However, if you choose to file your claim through mail or in person, youll need to file a hardcopy VA Form 21-0966 for your intent to file.
After submitting the intent to file, youll have a year to gather all information and evidence you need to complete your disability claim and submit the completed application to the VA.
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Havent Received Your Back Pay Contact A Veterans Disability Attorney For Help
If the 15-day window has come and gone and your back pay check has not arrived, a Gerling Law VA disability lawyer can assist you in obtaining your benefits. We also have attorneys available to walk you through the appeal process if you believe the VA assigned the wrong effective date. The sooner you address any errors, the better. Dont rely on an online VA compensation back pay calculator to determine how much should be coming to you instead, consult an experienced veterans disability benefits attorney to analyze your claim.
Gerling Law advises veterans all over the country. Our firm built its reputation by recovering over $500 million for injured clients, and we apply the same tenacity to supporting those who honorably served our country. You deserve to be represented by lawyers rated at the top of their field by their peers and clients. We are available 24/7 because we put our clients first. Contact us today for a free consultation.
A Brief Overview Of The Va Disability Claims Process
The VA official site describes VA Disability compensation as a tax-free benefit paid to qualifying vets with disabilities that are the result of a disease or injury incurred or aggravated during active military service.
But VA disability pay may also be awarded for disabilities that are an issue post-military service if those conditions, illnesses, or other issues are considered related or secondary to disabilities occurring in service and for disabilities presumed to be related to circumstances of military service, even though they may arise after service.
VA disability compensation is intended to compensate for considerable loss of working time from service-related medical problems.
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Back Pay For A Disability Increase
Many disabilities, particularly illnesses, grow worse over time. Veterans whose conditions have worsened may request a new evaluation of their disability rating. The veteran will be required to submit medical records that substantiate their claim of significant deterioration in their overall health and ability to function due to the previously rated disability. The VA may require the vet to undergo a new medical exam, known as a compensation and pension exam or C& P exam.
As with other benefit claims, the effective date is typically the date the VA receives the request for re-evaluation. If there is evidence that the condition worsened appreciably before the rating increase claim was received, the effective date could be set to the date of that evidence.
A veteran also may be due back pay by an act of Congress. Veterans benefits are paid according to the VAs Schedule for Rating Disabilities, which is federal law. From time to time, Congress will pass a law that increases the disability rating of a particular condition or declares a new condition to warrant a disability rating. The change may be retroactive.
For example, the PACT Act of 2022 adds more than 20 new presumptive conditions for burn pits and other toxic exposures. If you have a presumptive condition, you dont need to prove that your military service caused the condition. You only need to meet the service requirements for the presumption, such as service at specified locations and time periods.
Va Disability Effective Date
When the VA determines that you are entitled to disability pay, it also assigns an effective date. This date determines when your benefits are payable. Different dates are assigned based on the type of benefits you are eligible for and the circumstances surrounding your claim.
Here are some of the most common types of claims and the effective dates associated with them:
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Functional Loss Full Definition
Disability of the musculoskeletal system is primarily the inability, due to damage or infection in parts of the system, to perform the normal working movements of the body with normal excursion, strength, speed, coordination and endurance.
It is essential that the examination on which ratings are based adequately portray the anatomical damage, and the functional loss, with respect to all these elements.
The functional loss may be due to absence of part, or all, of the necessary bones, joints and muscles, or associated structures, or to deformity, adhesions, defective innervation, or other pathology, or it may be due to pain, supported by adequate pathology and evidenced by the visible behavior of the claimant undertaking the motion.
Weakness is as important as limitation of motion, and a part which becomes painful on use must be regarded as seriously disabled.
A little used part of the musculoskeletal system may be expected to show evidence of disuse, either through atrophy, the condition of the skin, absence of normal callosity or the like.
Va Retro Pay For Dependents
Veterans can also earn VA disability back pay for dependents. If a veteran did not have dependents to add at the time of their claim or simply neglected to add existing ones, they may be eligible for additional back pay. An individual has 365 days after their original application to apply for VA disability back pay for dependents if they hope to keep the effective date of their initial claim. If they wait more than one year before filing for a spouse, child, or another dependent, their back pay will likely only extend back to the time they filed a claim for extra dependents.
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Additional Factors About Va Claims You Should Know
VA disability back pay may also be available for cases where a veteran has appealed a VA decision and the VA finds in favor of the veteran.
You may also be entitled to back pay if a medical condition gets worse during an active appeal with the VA, but this can further complicate how the VA determines how much to pay you.
In general, the back pay may be calculated depending on how much worse the condition got year to year, but in general, the date the VA receives the claim may determine how those numbers are to be calculated.
In some cases during an appeal, the VA may decide that a veterans claimed conditions are actually improving, which may also introduce complications if the VA decides that a reduction in benefits is in order.
What Is The Average Va Disability Rating For Back Pain
The average VA disability rating for back pain is 10%.
Remember, even if you have full range of motion, if theres painful motion, you should be awarded the minimum compensable rating for back pain, which is 10%.
If youve had surgery, and still have limitation of range of motion and painful movement, you can expect a rating of 20% or higher.
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