VA Disability Claim Paperwork Time Line

For many veterans or spouses who have applied for the VA disability compensation or pension the time it takes the VA to process their paperwork and eventually issue the checks is agonizing.

It doesn’t matter whether you are waiting for a service related disability compensation check or a non-service connected disability pension check, the wait is the same.

It is apologetically slow. On average it takes the VA six to eight months for a veteran’s claim.  Some state’s Regional Offices are quicker, some slower.  North Carolina always seemed to be the quickest where NYC and Chicago the slowest.

There is one way to make your claim application processing a bit faster. That is to make sure you have every item of documentation properly completed, in acceptable format and sent in all together at the same time.

You’ll get a series of letters over the processing time frame.  Make sure if a response is requested that you don’t delay.  The VA gives you only 30 days to respond before it gets stuck in the pending file from hell.

Once you get the approval letter you should get the first retro-active check within 1 month’s time. Faster if you submitted the direct deposit information with your original claim application. This first payment will be equal to the amount you are eligible to receive from the 1st of the month following the date the VA received your application to the date they approved your claim.

Then you will receive a check (or direct deposit) the first of each month for the previous months time frame.

16 thoughts on “VA Disability Claim Paperwork Time Line

  1. Frank Watts

    It is very sad, I have found, if you contact the VA per letter or call toll free number you can get a different story each time. I have been told, your file is with a rater, you are being considered for 100% umemployability, etc. When I speak with a VA rep. and give him the previous time I called, name of person I spoke with and the story they gave me it really does not matter. What a shame the VA can not do the things that veterans are told they do! Thank you

  2. James

    I have been told the same thing by different representatives. I call and they say it is going to the ratings board and then I call back they say it is still in the developmental phase. I get different stories from representatives on the same day. It is quite a shame.

  3. Donald Lamb

    VA failed to even admit my claim had been setting in Winston Salem NC ,until my senators office got involved. My claim has been at VA for over a year collecting dust. I’ve been told service organizations will help but I haven’t witnessed it yet. The Amvets wanted $ 30.00 upfront and after they get your money good luck. DAV claimed they would be persistant, and I have not been able to contact a real person in four month’s. From my experience in the last twelve month’s the whole system is broke…

  4. Greg R.

    I have had a compensation claim filed for just over 2 years! Still in the “Decision” phase! I finally called my Congressmen’s office and they got involved. Did absolutely NO GOOD! They just tell me that “It takes time.” and “They are backlogged and understaffed/overworked.” Well, we are in the same situation at my employer but WE STILL GET OUR WORK DONE IF WE WANT TO STAY EMPLOYED!!!!
    Glad to see that 10 years of honorable service and fighting through the pain was worth something!!!!!

  5. charles

    It is quite annoying that with the advanced technologies, VA remains unable to process a VETS claim in under a six month period of time. It is rediculous that the VA is still processing the claims as they have 10 years ago. I sure if the agency would hire Vets, people who have a personal experience relating to the requesting VETS, this would aid in processing, non-vets cannot share that experience so is’t a job only for them. Money is another problem slowing the process time. Money should be directed to programs and applications for computers users to process data faster and effient in place of the VET. It is a shame that VETS return home for defending the country and still have to await for benefits they deserve. A political years is just around the corner and it’s time to make a difference

  6. daniel

    i have been waiting for two and a half years for my claim as was said befor i did 10 years in the navy and all i got for it was a lung diease two knees that dont work and a messed up back that i cant even ride my bike any more ended up getting rid of it broke my heart i dont understand why they treet us the way they do.

  7. Michelle

    It took my second claim about 17 months and I received my backpay for veteran only and no dependents a week after I received my ratings letter this year. Now I am waiting to get paid for my dependents. The wait was long and I had to make sure all my paperwork was correct but I stayed hopeful. The 800 number I agree was a waste and was told different things by different representatives. Good luck to everyone.

  8. Al Fowler

    My claim has been in the “Decision” phase for 6 months and I get the same response repeatedly ” Your claim is in the Decision Phase, you should receive notice of the settlement within 7 to 10 business days.”… hmmm…. 6 months times 30 days is 180 days…. slow is one thing, but this is totally rediculous !!!

  9. Damon

    6 claims in going on 12 months. Different story each time I call too. Not horribly upset by the process considering I waited 8 years to file them after I got out. Obviously I survived without thier compensation for this long… Oddly, I work for the V.A. and hear lots of weird stories about my patients claims. Some get 100% for ONE simple diagnosis. Others get repeatedly refused for acute, ellaborate medical problems. Weird.

  10. Chuck

    I have had a claim pending for over a year without any contact from the VA. No progress letters, no letters requesting information nothing. I was originally told 6-8 months, then up to twelve months now I’m being told up to 18 months. They did say That if my house was in foreclosure I could inquire into having my claim reviewed for possible expedited review. Geee thanks, by the time they reviewed it to possibly review it for expedited review I’ll be moving into my new cardboard box. I’m so glad I spent over two years in Iraq and was exposed to numerous chemicals that have left me unable to work, spend quality time outside with my children and unable to live even a halfway normal life.

  11. curtis

    What the hell is wrong with the VA? Even the army is faster and more efficient than this! Who runs the show over in the VA, and how stupid are they? All I ever see on the news is “VA inquiry initiated due to slow response” or “VA not taking care of injured veterans due to inefficiency” but NEVER anything about these problems being RESOLVED. How many times does the VA have to be told that it’s dangerously inefficient and tremendously slow before something is actually done about it?

  12. Phillip

    The truth is that once you file, your wait will be close to one year or worse. Calling the VA reps, like others mentioned, can be a disappointing effort. My mother was evicted from her assisted living after waiting for this benefit for over a year since she couldn’t pay their full monthly fee. Shame on the VA for not doing their job.

  13. DYOP

    I was told 3-6 months. It has know been nearly 8 months. They count M-F holidays off. They said it only a little behind by couple days. Then said I should recieve a letter to tell me what they need. I am a spouse of 100% disabled veteran who passed away. It is going to take longer on a a no brainer claim then my wifes orginal. How strange that is. I ask said any day. Called back 2.5 hopurs on hold. Said it not late it right on time. two months ago so add 42 days to that minus holidays. It a shame it takes so long. So many veterans and spouse deserve it and need it and have to wait I was sent letter twice saying they are working on it. I wish I had that job so I can say I’m working on it and sleep all day. I anticipate sometime next year as more realistic I was told. A years for a sposes which to me would be easier. Yes Veteran. However we been at war so long and so many needed it and deserve it . I cant get a job. I can sit and process them to the standard . I have a Bachelors in Accounting and Forensic Auditing. I sure I could polish off a few hundred a wek. It simple. You bring these guys from a battlefield save their lives and in any other war would have died. Save them and say what till you can prove you are disabled. I think at the moment many would have chosen the other. I sorry if they did but less stress and peace would be with them. It reminds me of July 4th or Hamburger Hill. But now they have far worse devices. They hate americans.

  14. floriene

    Try 4 years and 3 months waiting for an answer on my appeal. Found out it was approved Feb. 2014, no letter telling me a decision was made. Happen to find out my appeal was approved by calling BVA. Now waiting for payment. How long it will take to receive payment??? Talked to Sacramento DAV rep., suppose to call me on when they will approve payment. DAV rep. said she would call me back. Well, we will see. It is hard to believe anything VA tells you.

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