The Fully Developed Claims (FDC) program is an optional way to file your claim for disability compensation, pension, and survivor benefit claims. The main benefit of filing an FDC is that your claim will be processed faster than a traditionally filed claim.
An FDC requires you to do some of the work gathering evidence that the VA normally does. However, for veterans who are concerned about long processing times for their claims, filing an FDC may be the best option.
Why You Should File a Fully Developed Claim
The FDC allows the veteran to control the evidence gathering part of the claims process. The veteran gathers all evidence, including military records and medical records, and certifies that they are submitting all of their evidence at once. This is different than the traditional claims process, where the VA is supposed to gather much of the evidence, and the veteran can submit new evidence at any time.
You may be concerned that you will forget to submit a piece of evidence, but the FDC program is risk-free. If the VA determines that there is more evidence, your claim will be considered as a traditional claim.
How to File a Fully Developed Claim
The VA has provided a checklist to follow when filing your FDC, which you can find here.
You begin by logging into your eBenefits account and applying for disability compensation. You have a year from the start date to submit your claim. The VA will not process your claim until you submit it.
You will then need to tell the VA about your federal records and gather your non-federal records, such as private medical records.
The VA has also stated that getting your medical provider to fill out your Disability Benefits Questionnaire will further speed up the process. This is not a required part of filing a FDC, but if you have the ability to do it, go ahead.
You will then need to select what type of claim you are filing, whether it is an original claim, claim for increased disability, or another type of claim.
Once you have uploaded all of your documents and clicked “Submit”, you have successfully completed your FDC.
If after filing your FDC you received an unfavorable decision in whole or in part from the VA, get help from Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick. Our veterans attorneys have helped thousands of veterans through every step of the appeals process. Call us today at 401-331-6300 for a free case evaluation.