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Veterans Law

Should I File My VA Compensation Claim Online?

Lisa Ioannilli

May 15, 2017

Updated: November 20, 2023

Should I file my VA Compensation Claim Online?

Filing your VA claim online is the fastest and most convenient way to apply for disability benefits. Electronic records can be processed using a variety of automated tools, allowing the VA to complete certain actions with greater speed.

Filing your claim online makes it easy to lock in your effective date, while also simplifying evidence submission and the use of the fully developed claims (FDC) process.

Lock-In Your Effective Date by Filing Online

Once you begin the online application process and hit “Save”, you have notified the VA of your intent to file. This means that your claim will be considered to have been filed on this day as long as you submit your final claim within one year.

The intent to file preserves your effective date, which is typically the date from which benefits are payable once you are awarded benefits. If you run into any delays while you are gathering evidence, you will not have to worry about losing any benefits because your effective date is already established.

If you do not complete your claim online, you will have to notify the VA of your intent to file by phone, in person, or by mailing a VA Form 21-0966, Intent to File a Claim for Compensation and/or Pension, or Survivors Pension and/or DIC.  .

Speed Up Evidence Gathering

You will need several important pieces of evidence when filing for VA disability compensation. You can expedite the process more by filing an FDC, which certifies that you have told the VA about all the evidence they need to make a decision on your claim. By gathering the evidence yourself, you can receive a decision from the VA on your claim quicker.

You will need your separation papers, such as a DD-214, and medical evidence of your disability. If the incident that caused your disability is not in your military records, you may need to collect statements from friends and family that explain why your disability is service-connected.

If you have federal records, such as from VA medical care, Social Security benefits statements, or military treatment records, you should tell the VA about these records. You can also collect these records yourself to save time.

Once you have finished collecting everything, just scan the documents and upload them to your account.

If you are filing an FDC, you will have to certify that you have submitted all of the evidence the VA needs to make a decision on your claim. If you later need to submit more evidence, the VA will remove it from the FDC program and process it as a regular claim.

If you need assistance with a disability compensation appeal, contact Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick. Our veterans law practitioners have over 25 years of experience working with veterans. Call us at 401-331-6300 for a no-cost case evaluation.

About the Author

Bio photo of Lisa Ioannilli

Lisa joined CCK in March 2012. Lisa is a Senior Attorney focusing on representing disabled veterans in claims pending before the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

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