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Waiting for Veteran Disability Benefits – How long does it take?

By   /  March 3, 2016  /  103 Comments

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It has become a well-known fact that the DVA can take a long time to process claims for Veteran Disability Benefits. Nationwide, it took the VA on average more than eight months to process a claim in June, 2012 – this is 50% longer than it took in 2011.

A report from the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) found that the average wait time to evaluate a claim was 277 days. The CIR found that vets in New York and North Texas waited the longest, at an average of more than one year.

Increased media and political attention

Increased media and political scrutiny have prompted calls for improvement. Last summer, the VA promised to work on improving its processing; the CIR reports that by Fall 2012, “slow but measurable progress” could be seen in reducing the backlog.

The longest backlogs typically occur in densely populated metropolitan areas like New York, and Oakland, California. The reason given by the VA for delays in processing is that they don’t have enough personnel to handle all of the claims in a timely manner. There has been an increase in the number of claims from Afghanistan and Iraq vets, on top of vets from the Vietnam War who are filing new claims.

Even with modest improvements, chronic delays remain a problem. The DVA’s own Inspector General has found that the agency needs to hire more staff. The U.S. Government Accountability Office issued a report in November 2012 finding that lengthy delays in processing claims for Veteran Disability Benefits continue.

Gathering medical records can cause delays

Some delays can be caused by problems the DVA has in sharing medical records with the DOD and medical providers. The DVA is also trying to streamline the use of electronic records sharing between the parties involved in establishing a veteran’s claim. In these cases, vets can help obtain any records themselves, or to be sure to start the process right away. It might be faster for you to just obtain certified paper records yourself, if that’s possible for what you need.

What can you do?

While some of the delay problem may be out of your control, you can still do everything you possibly can to speed up the process from your end. When you apply, secure all of the required evidence in the desired format. Check and double-check that any records you request are sent and received where they need to be. Continually follow-up with your doctor’s office and the VA, and your agent, if you have one, to make sure everything is moving along with your application.

The DVA has created a Fully Developed Claim program that can allow you to speed up the time it takes to process your claim for veterans disability benefits. The program helps guide you on how to provide all of the relevant information in precisely the correct form that the DVA needs to process it. You do your part by getting hold of the necessary records yourself and sending them to the VA. This can expedite the evaluation of your claim. If you file a Standard Claim, the VA is responsible for getting relevant documents and this can cause delays.

The VA encourages veterans to take advantage of assistance in filing their claims. See “Veterans Disability Benefits-How do I apply?“ for additional information.

It is very important that you do everything you can to file a complete application. If there is an error or missing information that leads to an initial denial, appeals can take even longer. Some vets who appeal a denied claim can wait three years or more for a resolution.

The best you can do in the face of inevitable delays is to stay on top of your claim at all times, and get qualified assistance.

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103 Comments

  1. Chris H. says:

    I submitted my disability claim, fully developed, on April 4th, 2016 and I see nothing on eBenefits. How long does a typical FDC take from start to finish? When will information begin to appear on eBenefits?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Chris,

      A fully developed claim is processed based only upon the documentation submitted. No new and later acquired records will be accepted by the VA. If that claim as submitted by you is not “fully developed”, it will be rejected by the VA. So one really needs professional legal expertise before thinking about going it alone (pro se). The VA claim approval process is a lot more complicated due to the medico-legal duality of the claim process.

      If upon review you have submitted a claim as fully developed, in fact, it will take a shorter time for the VA to process it to a determination level. But, there are so many administrative issues within the Department of Veterans Affairs, that one can only speculate as to how long the process will take in any individual case submission. There are more than four million claims filed annually and there is currently more than a one million claim backlog, so do not be surprised if it takes more than one year to bring up your claim to a stage of claim determination. If the claim is poorly submitted and is not really fully developed, you might get a rejection letter sooner rather than later.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

    • Mel says:

      Hi I submitted my claim fully developed on 2/10/16 it is now 5/1/16 and I just received my letter today at 70%.

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Mel,

        Congratulations on obtaining an quick and favorable determination from the VA. Most claims are unfavorable, and it often takes literally years to find out a claim was denied. So, well done.

        Sincerely,
        Craig L. Ames
        Accredited VA Attorney

  2. Joseph Kearney says:

    I have been non service connected for several years, receive no money due to SSDI check being more than VA of $981.
    I just filed for service connection. Will the non service connected help or not help my service connection claim?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Joseph,

      No. By definition you need to prove that your existing medical is not only fully or partially disabling but also that it relates back to an in-service medical event that occurred while in the performance of military duties.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  3. Good day veterans gulf war not Gulf War, because no one in congress gives a care claim for gulf war illness started 2009 key factor memory loss and a host of other things everything due to gulf war too V.A. Doctors is because of P.T.S.D. Chronic fatigue syndrome , Fibromyalgia ,Sleep Apnea and I.B.S. Out of no where got a call last month for two C&P’s March 26 2016 and March 29 2016 the next day got a call from Detroit regional office saying that my claim has being received and it will be done in two weeks this claim will take presidents over any appeals that I have going on. Now the phone call was over tried too get the person back on the line using the 1(800)827-1000 # and could not get the person back on the line spoke with a VSO that looked at me as if I was messing up his office party and said that he has neaver heard of such a thing. Has anyone ever had this happen too them?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear LaMarr,

      The Disability Advisor has no experience with this type of call. The way the VA claims are processed is such that at least three different departments or teams with at least three to four persons per team are responsible for working on the evidence gathering/pre-determination stage of a claim. No one person has full responsibility for a claim at this stage in development. So it will be difficult if not impossible to determine who called you.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  4. Marvin Vance says:

    I retired on 01/01/2013 and my VA disabilities rating is 70%. I received my 1st intinal payment in 08/01/2014. The VA has had my audit since 08/19/2014 and I have yet to receive my notification or back pay from 01/13 to 07/14. I’ve called and I get the same old answers be patient. What else can I do? Maybe congress or senators?.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Marvin,

      There is a huge backlog of cases More than 4 million claims are filed annually. The backlog is more than 1.25 million cases currently. There is nothing you can do to bring this to a speedy resolution.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  5. Allen says:

    I submitted a claim in September 2013, and when I finally got an answer, in December of 2014 it was denied. It was marked as completed in in Ebenefits, with a ‘claim closed’ date of 12/19/2014.
    I filed a Notice of Disagreement, and it was marked as received as of 10/26/2015, well within the year I had to file a NOD.
    As of March, I just had an appointment with QTC (first one for this claim) and it seems to be at least moving forward.
    When / if the claim is completed, will I receive back pay from the initial file date (Sep 2013), the NOD file date (Oct 2015) or Whenever they make a decision (est Sep 2016)?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Allen,

      The appeal preserves your September 2013 filing date as the date for benefit eligibility if you are approved.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  6. Courtney says:

    My husband has been out of the army since November 2012 with an approved va rating of 70% we are still waiting for his disability money. It’s been 3 years and 4 months and still nothing. The VA is a disgrace to our service members.

  7. shayna says:

    i requested a re-decision on my claim and was given an exam on Jan 25th, 2016. i have been waiting and my e benefits account now says ” request 1- initial review complete” do i need to add documents? thank you.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Shayna,

      You should always be proactive in proving your claim. If you, in fact, have new evidence, then submit it.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  8. Dennis says:

    All my records were uploaded and submitted to the VA by me and all the doctors doing the VA physicals in July 2015 (the VA acknowledged receipt). My retirement date was 9-30-15, according to the ebenefits website my claim is in the preparation for decision phase and a decision is expected between 12-15 – 02-16. It is not 03-16 and I still haven’t heard anything. I requested an update and all I get is they are working on it.

  9. Brian Morrow says:

    Seems to me that if the backlog is so high and all these veterans are having to wait years for answers while some cant do physical work, that maybe the VA should hire some of the Vets in this backlog and train them to assist in these matters. 1. You would help reduce this ridiculous backlog. 2. These vets that have been without any income coming in to their household would have an income source to help take care of their families.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Brian,

      An interesting idea, though applicable only to those who can still work.

      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  10. Brandon says:

    I returned from a non-volunteer mobilization in December. Prior to leaving, I had a rating and compensation was coming in regularly. I turned in my new DD-214 to restart compensation. It’s been 2 months since they received everything. Anyone know a possible time for them to simply restart compensation, since it’s not a new claim? It says 2018-2020, but got to think it’s wrong, since it’s not a longer, initial/modification claim.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Brandon,

      I do not have any knowledge about the relationship of a mobilization to a VA compensation claim. I suggest that you consider making an appointment with a Decision Review Officer to go over your situation answer your questions.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  11. Terrie says:

    I filed a claim with the VA for a fully developed claim back on 11/30/15. I did not have any medical records to submit at that time. I was able to secure my medical records from my time in service and I uploaded onto Ebenefits a few days ago. Since this upload, I notice my time of completion date went from 5/13/16 to 10/17/16 to now 6/26/16 to 1/5/17. Did I make a mistake by uploading these records? Did I start my claim over? I was under the impression that records would exepdite things.
    Please advise.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Terrie,

      When a veteran files a claims as being fully developed, the VA takes the position that all relevant records have been filed. The VA does not consider later records. That is the reason this process is referred to as “fully developed.” In other words, by submitting later acquired records, the claim necessarily has not been fully developed. So if you want the VA to consider additional records, you can withdraw the existing claim and refile it. But that will trigger a new filing date upon which benefit eligibility is determined. You lose the earlier filing date and earlier potential benefits.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

      • Terrie says:

        Thank you for your reply. In my Ebenefit account, my claim status says, “Development letter sent” and “Requested documents are past due.” I never received any letters or request for documents. I am concerned that this is the reason for the extension of my claim resolution date. Can you please explain what these notes mean? I’m not sure how accurate Ebenefits information is.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Terrie,

          This means the VA has made a determination that you either failed to respond to an inquiry it made to you or in the alternative you provided a response that was untimely. Thus, the VA has closed your file due to your abandonment of the claim. You will either need to file an appropriate response or appeal the claim denial or in the alternative file a new claim and start the process over again. Since you think you did not get a request, you may wish to contact the VA Regional Office to have someone to go over your claim to find out what was requested or engage an accredited VA attorney to assist you.

          Sincerely,
          Craig L. Ames
          Accredited VA Attorney

          Sincerely,
          Craig L. Ames
          Accredited VA Attorney

  12. D Knight says:

    Have a disability rating of 70% with effective date of May 2012. After 2.5 yrs and determination date changes from Sep 2015 to “cannot determine” and now between Jan 2016 & Sep 2017 – my file is still in “claim received” status. If claims are stacked in order, how can the claim keep being shoved down line?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ms. Knight,

      I am unable to answer your question because (1) I’d need to know which authority made the last decision or determination (assuming a claim determination was actually made). For example, was the determination made by the VA Regional Center or an Administrative Law Judge or the Board of Veterans Appeals or a U. S. District Court or by a Regional Review Officer or some one else? And, (2) If a written decision was rendered, I’d have to read that decision to analyze how that decision is to be understood and whether the decision maker ordered subsequent actions to be taken and if so by whom. Accordingly, I suggest that you try to get assistance with the matter from an Accredited VA Attorney or veterans assistance organization such as the American Legion or Disabled Veterans of America.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  13. Dennis Knight says:

    Approved rating of 70% with effective date of May 2012.
    VA first stated to finalize by end of 2015. Then stated they did not know when. Now. They say between Jan 2016 and Sep 2017. What can one do when it is now 2 plus years and still in “claim received” status?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Dennis,

      The VA receives over 4 million claim applications annually from veterans. As a result, there is currently more than 1.5 million case backlog. That backlog is growing. The VA system is accordingly overwhelmed by the case load and there is no indications that the federal government is doing much to improve the claim process. Thus, we cannot provide you with any optimistic view as to how long your specific claim will take to process. Your experience is typical of the VA claim process.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  14. Phillip Fowler says:

    I have a 90% rating rating for diabetes and periphial nueropathy. In late 2014 I found out I had lymphoma cancer, the VA gave me 100% in September of that year. I got a letter from them stating that the first of March they would be knocking me back to 90% for the cancer was in remission, now the cancer has came back so I applied for unemployable, with all my medical records going to them it seems with the technology now things should flow a little better, they just want you to fill out some of the forms they already that is in your records. It just seems to me that they want you to fill the forms out so they can prolong the process.People that are making these disisions should be doctors not someone trained by the VA. They also say you can’t be represented by a lawyer unless he or she VA approved. bull

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Phillip,

      The VA wants to insure that lawyers who represent veterans are accredited through a federal review process. First, the VA wants ethical behavior and expertise by a licensed attorney. Second, to become accredited that lawyer must complete specific courses continually update the training on an ongoing basis. VA wants quality services which only come about if an attorney is an “accredited VA attorney”.

      As to a claim for IUE (Individual Unemployability), a veteran must submit a specific claim contenting IUE. You should have a private medical opinion as to your unemployability as well as statements from prior and/or your current employer that you are not capable of performing the job.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  15. Mathias Stewart says:

    I filed my claim on 7 Jan 2016 for adverse reaction to Anthrax Vaccines that includes a myriad of health implications to include Gulf War Illness, my medical records are rock solid. The estimated time of completion is May 2017. Now, I could understand that time frame would be on par for New York, my home state that has over 19M people. My claim was filed in South Dakota that has less than 1% of NY’s population. 18 Months seems like a long time. I some how got talked into enrolling into VA healthcare, I am petrified to go see them since there was a dental clinic in Mossouri that is responsible for infecting 1800 people with HIV because they did not stick to proper cleaning protocol.Again, I am in no hurry to see these people. Does the VA do anything right???

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Mathias,

      V.A. claims are handled by a federal government agency and all claims are in the same “pot” for review, not divided out by state.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

      • Nate says:

        Then why is the regional office in Wichita looking at mine but my buddy’s claim is being handled by an office in Texas?

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Nate,

          A claim filing occurs where you live and where you filed your original or new claim. However, the case review depends upon internal practicalities within the Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA may route a claim to a different office depending upon which stage in the claim process your case is at.

          Sincerely,
          Craig L. Ames
          Accredited VA Attorney

  16. Tierra Hopkins says:

    Towards the end of January I went to my spot. For PTSD and hearing loss. I noticed after my status changed to Preparation for decision. The date was set to be somewhere between July and August. Then a week or some after I noticed the status still the same, but the date changed and it’s now between February and March. Should I be concerned or is this a good thing? A friend told me its a bad thing because it’s due to the fact that I’m in the reserves, but no longer active duty. Will me being in the reserves hinder my claim?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tierra,

      This question is raised frequently. This notice is simply part of the three step process in the VA evaluation of a claim. There are (a) a claim application phase, (b) a pre-determination phase or evidence collection, and (c) a determination phase where a VA specialist, non-physician, will determine if a rating is applicable and, if so, what is the percentage rating. This process is protracted and can take years to reach a written determination.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited V.A. Attorney

      • John says:

        I just went for an appointment where I was evaluated by a VA doctor and some X Rays were taken, how long until I receive a rating?

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear John,

          The VA claim process system is slow. There are more than 4 million claims filed annually. Currently the case backlog is at 1.25 million claims and the backlog grows larger each year. Statistical information published by the VA suggests an average claim reaches a determination somewhere between 1-2 years dependent on how proactive the claimant is in providing documentation.

          Sincerely,
          Craig L. Ames
          Accredited VA Attorney

  17. Mark Davis says:

    I have applied for 100% disability from 80%. I don’t know how long it will take to process the claim but i’m running out of money. I’m thinking about going back to work ,man up and suck up the knee pain just to keep up with my bills. Would this affect the 100% disability i’m claiming. Am i allowed to work while waiting on decision for 100%? I’m really struggeling with financial.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Mark,

      Your VA compensation claim is independent of any decision to return to work. Working while your VA claim is pending is not a material factor in how the VA makes a determination of a disability rating.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  18. Brian says:

    I submitted my paperwork back in September with an ETS date of 2 December. I am pending disability percentage and compensation. My documents just went under review on 3 December and my problem lies in the fact that I cannot find work until I find out how “disabled” I truly am and what restrictions I need to work with. Is there any way to find this out before the VA completes their portion or am I just out of work until that time? Am I just supposed to pull from unemployment until the decision is made?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Brian,

      You are commingling two distinct issues. Your VA compensation claim is independent of any decision you make as to whether or not you should seek employment.

      A VA compensation claim is a benefit based upon pain and suffering due to medical events which occurred in-service. Literally if one receives a VA compensation benefit, the veteran is being “compensated” for how that medical event impacts his or her life. A vet can have a 100% rating as VA compensation and be employed full time as a “double dipper.” A VA compensation benefit is not a monthly income replacement or disability income benefit.

      You can readily obtain an independent medical opinion from a private physician or physical therapy institute which can help you determine what jobs, if any, are within your range of physical and mental abilities.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  19. Khalid Faragi says:

    I was going through the medbaord process while i was still active duty, My peblo gave my Va Rating which came back from the VA at 80%, signed all the papers, and i gave my DD214. I went through all my tests and everything so the VA gave me 80% rating. so after leaving active duty i log in to ebenfits and my case says preparation for decision. i don’t understand i thought the decision was made and i got 80%, why is it pending the decision again?

    Thank you for your time.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Khalid,

      Any VA claim application is a complex process. Without a review of your claim application, all VA documents and information which you may have submitted to the VA, I cannot evaluate the status of your claim. You will need to have a professional review your case file in order to answer your question. You might seek assistance first from the Disabled Veterans of American or the American Legion.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  20. Betty says:

    Received award letter 11/23/15 from the BVA. How long will it take
    to receive the rating letter? Also, how is the effective date determined
    for back pay? After multiple denials by our local regional office and
    once by the BVA I was finally approved after obtaining new evidence
    that provided the proof the VA needed.
    Thanks

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Betty,

      It can take months for the VA to complete the benefit payment process since the rating decision must go through various departments for approval. The benefit date is determined by the date your claim application was date stamped as being received and processed. If you filed the claim in person, the benefit date is typically one or two days after the date you filed the claim. The VA decision letter will typically state the benefit date.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  21. Ivette Flemate says:

    My husband filed his claim in February 2015 and has gone to numerous appointments. On Monday 12/21/15 he received his packet saying he was approved for 100%. On 12/22/15 he called to see about back pay and they told him it was already processed that day, when he gets on ebenefits it shows the status of the amount of money that’s back pay and that it has been processed, VA rep told him it should hut his account the next day. We have been steady checking the account and nothing. My question is how long does it take to see the money, he has set up auto pay from long before and his claim was a go from the beginning, never put a hold or was denied.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ivette,

      I cannot answer how long it takes for the federal government to issue a check. The process must go through various federal departments including the Department of Treasury before it is processed. You will need to periodically check with the Regional Office of the VA to follow up on this.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  22. James J. Rigney says:

    I served in Vietnam 1969-70. First depression PTSD began in the ’80′s when filing wasn’t an option yet. I have been on antidepressants since that time and have been getting my care at Hines VA in Illinois since. Filed in 2011 denied, appealed and was required to provide a form from outside psychiatrist I had seen for years, received and turned over to VA. Also required VA psychiatrist to fill out paperwork. My psychiatrist refused to fill out the required paperwork stating “it is the policy of HinesVa mental health department to NOT FILL OUT THE REQUIRED FORM because they are clinicians and not claims “people.”
    All the information stating I have a PTSD diagnosis is in my records, however the medical history records were not the required paperwork the DRO asked for, and the requested form could not be filled out because all the HINES VA “Mental Health Department Psychiatrists” refuse and are not required to fill out the forms required by the VA! THIS FEELS LIKE A CATCH 22…how do I resolve this gross injustice move by my own VA? Jim

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear James,

      You should consider engaging the services of an accredited VA lawyer to analyze your claim to determine if you have reasonable grounds for a new claim.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  23. Steve says:

    I recently retired from the US Military and filed a Benefits Delivery at Discharge claim with the VA. I worked closely with both my VSO and the Regional Office Service Rep, who have both been amazing and a huge help. However, after gathering all of the required information, and making all of my medical appointments on time, my claim has hit a standstill. According the VA Website, the goal of the Benefits Delivery at Discharge program is to complete this type of claim within 60 days of discharge. However, we all know and realize that this isn’t likely to be the case. My claim moved to the Preparation for Decision phase on 9 September 2015 and had a projected completion date of 14-28 October 2015. However, in the later part of September, the projected completion date changed to “The Regional Office cannot determine a completion date at this time” message. I contacted the VA this week to determine if there was more information needed from me, or if there could be any clarification on the completion date. I was told that even though my claim has been in the PFD phase for 9 weeks, to just be patient, that all of the information is there and that I just need to let my claim move to the top of the file. They told me that my claim is waiting to be rated and approved. This kind of makes me scratch my head because the entire purpose of the BDD program is to move the claims faster through the process. I know this seems like I may be impatient because so many others have had their claims move way slower than mine, however I have lost employment due to one of my conditions and I am currently only able to receive my military pension, which doesn’t go too far. What are my options for courses of action to help move my claim along a little faster?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Steve,

      You do not have any realistic options nor solutions here. You are one of the more than one million backlogged claims.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  24. niko says:

    My claim was closed on 19 april 14 and it says a packet will be on the mail and to wait for us mail time to deliver before contacting the va. I called the 800 number a few weeks ago and they said they could nit discuss anything until i get the packet that was sent out in the mail and that i should get it in 2 weeks. Well going into week 4 and i still haven’t recieved anything at all. Is there a way to find out where the packet is? He said i would be very happy but how can i check my status at this point? Is there anyway to find out anything. I know i went from 10% to 80%. How much longer. I saw most people saying 6 months after the case is closed.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Niko,

      You can make a visit to your nearest VA Regional Office or substation/field office to get clarification.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  25. Justin Berry says:

    After a claim has been determined to be ‘complex’ ,psychosis for example, how will a disability rating be reach? Who determines the outcome of this specific claim?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Justin,

      VA laws are complex. Essentially within the VA bureau, there are pre-determination administrative staff members who prepare and stage a claim for a determination. The claim file passes back and forth among at least three teams within this stage. Five or six persons will work on the pre-determination staging of a claim. Once that process is complete, which can take one year or more, then the claim will be assigned to a long-term VA employee who is a Rating Specialist. That person will decide if a rating is warranted and if so what the percentage of rating is to be. Then another VA staff department will prepare a rating determination letter.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  26. Vernon Frazier says:

    On July 30.2015 the rating board gave me a 40 percent rating with a effect date of 12-05-2007. As of 24 th of September 2015 I have not receive a award letter only VA letter inform myself that I can use the VA hospital . I check ebenefit it it show my rating and the DAV confirm it as well. My case was remand back to the Region Office on Jan 21,2015 for CP exam which I complete. My question is when will I receive my award letter and will I get back pay from 12-05-2007 til May 1,2015. For I was grant pension pay on the 5-01-2015. I called IRIS number and get the run around the DVA is very hard to get in touch with. Hope you can give me some ideal concerning timeframe before I get a award letter

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Vernon,

      The VA is not very responsive to claim status requests. A claim review can take years. Eventually, the VA will issue a benefit determination. You can request an in-person review at the Regional Office of the VA, which could be beneficial but the VA does not have to agree to such a meeting.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  27. Ain Ivory says:

    My father is waiting on his rating how long does that normally take?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ain,

      There are more than one million pending claim applications, so it can take one or more years for a claim to be developed. If you proactively fully develop your own claim and know how to do so, the time period is greatly sped up. Otherwise, the VA develops the claim information in its own way and in its own time perimeters. You should seek professional assistance from the American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars in a claim application especially if you wish to develop your own claim.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  28. Timmy Ross says:

    If my V.A. claim has been completed is there a way to fund out if it was approved and my rating or do I have to wait for the letter in the mail?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Timmy,

      I believe you can go to ebenefits.va.gov and set up an account that will give you a broad view of where your claim is in the process.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  29. Barry Randall says:

    I was diagnosed with depression in 2009 and tinitus, for a total of 40% disability, I was called and told that I have an appointment with the V.A. and i went on the 3rd of aug 2015, I checked the Ebenefits website today the 18 Aug 2015 and found out the I am now rated at 60%, My question is am I eligible for back pay for the 6 years the I was rated at only 40% and it was coming out of my retirement check?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Barry,

      You are not eligible for back pay. The higher benefit entitlement dates only back to the date your new claim application was processed by the VA.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  30. Ramona flores says:

    My fiance just got approved how long will it take for us to start getting a check/any other medical help he needs

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ramona,

      To help me respond, please tell me whether your fiance was approved for Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or both and whether he was approved on initial application, on reconsideration, or at a hearing appeal.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  31. Dianna says:

    My father served in Alaska during WWll. He is now 81 years old. He has been diagnosed with Alzhiemers. I am trying to get him into an Assisted Living,Faciltiy gor Alzhiemers. Medicaid will not help, Medicare will not help and it will take some time for VA to kick in. How do I get the help my father needs . I cannot afford to pay out of pocket. Please advise.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Dianna,

      Typically, Medicaid would be a source for paying for assisted living. I suggest that you find out why they won’t help and see if you can rectify the situation. Sometimes assistance is denied because of assets a person has. If you father owns a house and puts it on the market, Medicaid might pay for his care based on his repaying the assistance once the house is sold. Another possibility could be to see if your father would qualify for some type of in-home assistance paid for by Medicaid or another state service.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

    • Stephen Gray says:

      Well I think u should enroll him in to the sorcc it’s a living center in White City Oregon I live here it’s great 3 meals a day and golf movie theater bowling nice rooms medical help all kinds of field trips and he won’t pay a dime includes transportation for him and the history here is that this used to be called Camp White an old WW11 base…he will be loved and welcomed with open arms…my gramps just passed 2 weeks ago he was also a WW11 vet…I hope this helps as an option

  32. Abraham Rodriguez says:

    I have have been waiting for my uneployabilty for over a year and I had been calling to find out my status of my claim. And I kept beginning told that they had everything that it was in the decision stage and that my claim was one of the ones in priority and that it had to be sesolved because the year was coming up which was June 4th of this year so on may 28th I get a letter asking for information about my last employment so I called the regional office and the congressanal lason that I had been dealing with and he told me that they had made 4 documented mistakes. And the letter said I had 15 days to provide the documents. When I told them that I couldn’t provide it and that they would not respond to the information. I had to fax them a statement with a explenation which I did I called a week later to find out if they had received my fax I was told that not yet but that finely 3 weeks later it was scanned into the system and I called every week. So I asked If they had a idea when it would be diecisede then I was told that by. Law they had to send another request if they would have sent it out within the first 2 months I wouldn’t have to wait. Then I was told that they have anther 30 days .and that’s not my claim for PTSD which I was diagnosed back in May of 2006 and was service connected. By 4 VA Doctors but when I was evaluated by the VA Psychologist said no which I applied because he eveluted me for less than 30 minutes because when I walked in he told me that he had to hurry up because he had to drive to Phoenix to catch a Flight because he was Starting his Vacation so I requested hearing with the board that travels but I was told that they don’t know when it will be. They said that they are trying to improve the service but now they have 3 places that you send your request and paperwork and then it’s scanned and then it goes to your regional office and when I have called I get the excuse that they are so under staffed that is why it’s taking so long so much for all the promises from the White House and the VA and all of the Politicans but it’s not election time.

  33. Robert S says:

    Is the Temp 100% disability claim different from the other claims? I have several claims pending but also filed the Temp 100% claim for 23 surgeries outside of the Military for service connected and it is at: Initial review Complete. Other Claims are at Pending Decision. Been over a year now but told them I am having a Hardship because I have to have 3 more surgeries and taking time off from work could risk loosing the house.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Robert,

      I don’t know what benefit under what law or program you are seeking to make a claim. Each law, such as VA law, has a specific definition for the meaning of a “disability.” There is no such concept as a “temporary disability” under VA law. Social Security does not require permanent disability, but the disability must last or be expected to last at least twelve months. The best way to think about a disability is a four-fold classification. Temporary versus Permanent as well as Total versus Partial. Accordingly, broadly speaking there are four possible types of disabilities: total temporary, total permanent, partial temporary, and partial permanent. Worker’s compensation includes these four classifications in its disability law.

      As an illustration, if I have the flu then I am totally but temporarily disabled from working at my job for three or four days. My temporary illness might be covered as paid sick days through my employer, assuming I qualify for paid sick day benefits. Paid sick days in this scenario are covered not by the existence of any law but rather by competitive forces in the industry or community. Also in the employment sector of our economy, many employers have short term disability plan, which as indicated by their name cover temporary problems. This is distinct from a permanent disability and is provided not according to law, but according to an insurance company contract pursuant to the payment of premiums.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

      • Steve says:

        Kay or Mr. Ames,

        You either are not very knowledgable about the VA or you are being very picky about your use of disability language.

        Robert is very clearly asking about the 100% temporary disability a veteran can receive for convalescence after surgery for a SC disability.

        I am not conversant on all of the ins and outs (I am also not claiming to be a VA attorney). However, I had scope surgery on a knee (10% SC) last August and received two months 100% temporary disability for convalescence (could have received from one to three months). It took 4 1/2 months for the VA to process and pay me using the va fully developed claim program.

        This year I had a total knee replacement and will receive 13 months 100% temporary disability.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Steve,

          Yes, the VA can award temporary compensation benefits. How a post is phrased and the context presented is important in determining how I answer questions.

          Sincerely,
          Craig L. Ames
          Accredited VA Attorney

  34. Ray Ro says:

    5 years ago I submitted a claim to the VA. It took a year for a 20% grant. There were obvious errors on the C&P exam. They ignored the content of my notice of disagreement. I was told I could appeal and that it would take about 3 years or wait a year and apply for an increase. I filed for an increase. I received a 30% rating in a year with different obvious errors on the C&P exam. I waited a year and applied for an increase. This time the C&P exam was correct and I received a 50% rating. The whole process this time was just 6 weeks.

    I praise the VA that they can do it right when they try. They could have save me 4+ years if they did it right the first time.

  35. Destiny Ellis says:

    I have been battling with the VA for over a year now and they said back on August 11, 2014 that my claim moved to pending decision approval I have called so many times i even got a letter telling me to stop calling the VA they would complete my claim when they got to it. Now i find out yesterday May 24, 2015 that apparently the only thing that has been holding it up is that the VA needed a copy of my DD214 and I’m like really!!!!!!! they have made NO AND I MEAN NO effort to contact me via email, mail, phone, or any other means. All my information is up to date and I know they have my address since they mailed me a letter telling me to quit calling them!!! Not to mention every time I have called I have asked is there anything I need to do or anything that is needed from me and i kept being told no no no they are just working on your claim!!! So now I’m stuck waiting who knows how long, cause no one can tell me what is going on. And I don’t even know for sure if the only thing that was really holding it up was just that one form. Is there anyone i can talk to that can give me specifics on my claim and some kind of liaison to help me out cause this is getting beyond absurd!!!!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Destiny,

      The VA structure is complex and bureaucratic. Your claim is handled by at least 3 teams within the VA structure and each team have 2-3 members who will review any given claim file. So it will be difficult to pin down any one VA staff member to give you a status report. No one person within the VA will accept responsibility as to status reports. I suggest you will need to go in person to the VA Regional Office for a status report and you may or may not be able to get a concrete answer. Remember that there are more than one million claims pending within the VA system.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  36. RS Singer says:

    What would you do if you ordered a copies of your health and personnel records from the VA and someone else’s mental health records were included with your records? Isn’t this a HIPAA violation? Would you feel like your records may be intertwined with someone else’s records as well?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear R.S.,

      I suggest you send the misfiled records back to the VA with a note that an error was made.There is no way to know whether some of your records were misfiled also, except to review to see whether, based on your memory, everything seems to be covered. Even if some were misfiled there’d be no way of knowing where and, therefore, they would be irretrievable.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  37. Chris koestner says:

    I am about to get plates in my neck due to service connected injury during OIF 2005, my surgery is two weeks away and i am stressing to figure out how as a single parent and living paycheck to paycheck ( weekly) and no savings , how long does it take to recieve comp for my 1 to 3 months missed work , is it also a long lasting claim or are these temporary claims same as the ones i am reading about? Any info appreciated thanks , chris

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Chris,

      VA Compensation is a long term claim process. Most claims take years to bring to a resolution. Do not think in terms of short-term periods of disability. This is not compatible with the nature of disability compensation as the VA defines eligibility for this benefit.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames

    • Mskwalker74 says:

      Mr. Koestner,

      Do you have a service organization representing you? If not, you may want to get a representative from the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) or someone else to represent you. Then you need to apply for a 100% temporary disability rating if you’re having surgery for a condition that you are already rated for. This could assist you with your monthly expenses as you are missing work during your recovery.

  38. alfred says:

    I have a friend getting disability even though he is not disabled served in no war and has a job he was approved in 12 months by va. I served in iraq have ptsd and an ear disease From iraq and the va could care less

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Alfred,

      It is not possible to know all the details of another veteran’s conditions or circumstances, so you cannot know the reasons why he was approved. However, if you have evidence that your friend falsified his application, you can report suspected fraud.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  39. Jose A Valentin Lebron says:

    I want a Know if i may verify my Claim status, by Internet Thank for your support.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jose,

      I don’t believe there is a way to check on your claim online, but you can call the VA and find out for sure.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      VA Accredited Attorney

    • Ryan says:

      Go to ebenefits.va.gov. Start an account. It gives you a BROAD view of where your claim is.

    • chad says:

      Kay,
      You can verify your claim status 24/7 365 , by logging on to ebenefits .VA.gov, if you haven’t signed up for a account it’s pretty easy takes 10 minutes ,then once you get your account .just look under claims status .it will show you your phases and where your claim is and what is need from,you and others..

  40. floyd glover says:

    I have filed been denied several timed. I’ve served in three war theaters. I keep getting letters saying: Sorry for the delay, we are still processing your claim. 12 years, I have spoken to congressman so much, and contacted Washington. Here it is 2015 still nothing. Its not fair and its frustrating age. I gave all I had. Help m

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Floyd,

      You can discuss your claim with an accredited VA attorney. No obligation and no fees for consultation.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  41. Raymond Anderson says:

    I filed a claim Aug 13, 2013 and received info from the VA on May 19,2014 requesting info from me about my exposure to Agent Orange. The claim info the VA had about my claim was incorrect. The VSO helping me had to send them the correct info about my claim. I’ve called every month to check the status, but can’t get a status. They are saying they have all the info needed, but haven’t processed my claim yet. How long does it take to receive a decision and why can’t they tell me the status?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Raymond,

      Your case will have to wait its turn among all the other requests pending in the VA Regional Office. Contacting your U. S. Congressman’s staff is one avenue to possibly get some attention of your case status. But, since you have already taken appropriate action, the staff of your representative is probably unable to provide any meaningful assistance. It is unlikely that your claim review will be expedited because there are well over one million VA cases pending. It can take years to bring a VA case to a decision point.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  42. Robert Carl says:

    I had an increase in my VA disability in 2011. it came almost a year after my surgery on my back and my request for an increase. I contested the rating that they gave me due to the fact I could mot obtain gainful employment since. In December of last year I entered my 4th year of waiting to be told that it would be determined by this December. Now I am entering my 5th year of waiting. Does my family get anything from the dispute if I die? The US Government seems to have higher priorities than the disabled vets. Bet you if I came across the border illegally I would have had a faster response.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Robert,

      A surviving spouse can step into the shoes of a Veteran who died while a VA claim is pending. If benefits are awarded, the VA will make payment to the spouse.

      Sincerely,
      Craig L. Ames
      Accredited VA Attorney

  43. thomas keim says:

    been waiting over 2 years to just add my daughter to my va benefits ,welfare for illegals is only a few weeks .I don’t recommend any one to join the military just let the politicians fight their own wars

  44. William Henry says:

    I filed in 2010 to get rated. More than 1,460 days ago.

  45. Robert Lewis says:

    I also was told that when I got in 1976 that I would receive medical for the rest of my life.. Nothing was explained as far as benifets I would receive. It’s a ashame that Veterans are treated that way. Most of the people processing the paper work for your claim aren’t even veterans maybe that’s why it takes 18 mons to process.

  46. Jack says:

    Took 1 year to be compensated the money for excess medical costs for my 84 year old father. Then in Demember when he should have received a 1.5 raise, cut his monthly check $62 if you include the raise he would not receive. Refiled for increase due to being housebound and needing 7 days a week care. Filed in Jan 2014 and don’t expect a word until December. This is crazy! They say the VA just waits and hope they die before having to shell out benefits. Really? Welfare to anyone but jump through 50 hoops for the VA for which my father served during the war. Very sad…..

    • Vicki says:

      It is a tragedy in itself that the vets are waiting up to a year for compensation. We have been waiting – as of today 287 days! Shame on you Washington! We were also told in 1976 that we would get free medical care for life. Well guess what? Wrong!

    • Jim Harris says:

      I applied 13 months ago. Just had my medical exam a couple of weeks ago. I’m expecting 3-4 months more before my claim is finished. Something close to 18 months total. And, it’s only a guess as to what per cent I will get. A friend of mine who lives in another state had his claim totally processed in 10 months. Just the roll of the dice I guess on how long and the amount……..there is no justice in the VA.

      • Jen Gratopp says:

        My husband has been waiting since March of 2013 and just finally got his appointment for his medical exam next week. It’s ridiculous the amount of vets out there that are waiting for the help they need.

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