For many Veterans, getting your VA disability compensation can seem overwhelming. Through my experience, most individuals aren’t aware if the timeline and this can cause frustration. Today, I want to spend a few moments to explain what you should expect when you’re pursuing a VA disability claim.
Before we begin, please note that there are several factors that determine the length of a claim. Your location, amount of claims, and evidence can greatly impact the length of time a claim takes to process. This video is simply meant to be a general guide.
The first thing you have to do is file for VA disability compensation. The initial application is called a VA Form 21-526. On average, it takes the VA 8-12 months to respond to your initial application. If you’re granted your benefits, and completely satisfied with the decision, then you’re all done…and pretty lucky because most claims are denied the first time.
If your initial application for benefits is denied, you have one year from the date on the Rating Decision to file an appeal. This appeal is referred to as a notice of disagreement, or a NOD. Once the NOD is filed, the VA will take another 8-12 months, sometimes longer to make a decision. Here is something that a lot of people won’t tell you; DON”T PUT OFF FILING THE NOD! Just because you have 12 months to file it doesn’t mean you should wait that long. If you do wait 12 months, and then it takes the VA another 12 months to make a decision, you’re in for 24 months instead of 12. My best advice is to gather whatever additional evidence you may need, and respond to the decision as quickly as possible. You can save 12 months by being proactive about your claim.
Like I said before, it generally takes 12 months for the VA to get back to you on a decision from the NOD. This next decision is called a Statement of the Case, or SOC. At this point, you have three options for responding. You can choose to schedule a Decision Review Officer Hearing, which is commonly called a DRO hearing, or you can choose to request a Board of Veterans Appeals, or you can choose to do both. Our firm traditionally does both.
At this time, you can request the DRO hearing, and file a Substantive Appeal; it’s referred to as a VA-9 or VA form 9. Each of these will take 8-12 months to process.
If you’re denied at the BVA, or if your claim is remanded, you will also be looking at another 12 month wait.
If you’d like to know more about VA disability, or if you’d like to speak to discuss your case, call us today for a free consultation. Our toll free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you’d rather be contacted by one of our claim specialists, fill out this form now.