What happens after filing a disability claim with the VA?
A veteran should first receive notification from VA that the claim was received—which may take up to two weeks after filing a paper form or within a matter of hours if the claim was submitted electronically.
A VA representative will then review your claim to determine if any additional information is needed. They will contact the appropriate sources—whether it’s you, a medical professional or government agency—to collect that information. This evidence gathering portion can be the longest part of the claims process, and may require further medical examinations.
Once it is determined that all necessary evidence has been received, the claim receives a review and a final rating decision is recommended. If you are using DAV as your appointed representative, they will review the recommendation and return it to the VA. Then a final determination is made and a claim decision packet will be mailed to you containing the rating decision and additional information regarding your disability rating.
Click here to watch DAV’s “What to expect after filing a VA claim” video.
What should I do after receiving a claim decision from the VA?
If you are satisfied with your decision, you need take no further action. However, if you are not satisfied with any part of the outcome, you have the right to appeal the VA’s ruling.
It is possible in some cases to simply gather additional information recommended by your DAV benefits specialist and request re-adjudication of the claim. This may be faster than filing a formal appeal.
A DAV specialist can also help you file a formal appeal if that is necessary, and as of 2017 there are now three paths a veteran can take to do so: taking their appeal directly to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals; requesting a higher-level VA adjudicator to decide their case; or file a supplemental claim with new evidence.
Veterans have one year from the date of the VA notification letter to appeal a claims decision.
Who can I contact for help?
DAV benefits experts are available across the country to help veterans navigate their VA benefits and provide counseling for veterans on claims and appeals—all at no cost to the veteran.