The steps for submitting a Fully Developed Claim (FDC) are similar to the steps for submitting any claim for disability compensation to the VA. The main difference is that in an FDC, you are responsible for gathering all private records, and certifying to the VA that you have provided them with all the evidence they need to evaluate your claim.
Once you create your eBenefits account and begin the process of filing for disability compensation, you will have to gather some evidence, and let the VA know about any federal records. As soon as you start your application and click “Save”, you will have established your effective date so long as you submit your completed application within one year. Follow these steps to complete your FDC.
Steps for Completing a Fully Developed Claim
First, tell the VA about all of your federal records. This may include VA medical care records, Social Security benefits statements, and military treatment or personnel records. You do not have to collect these records, but if you are able to, you should consider doing so. This will save the VA even more time when processing your claim.
Next, you will need to collect all non-federal records. This will include private medical records and statements from friends and family about your disability. If you were a National Guard or Reserve member, you should also collect these records and submit them with your claim.
Remember that the VA needs enough evidence to support three conclusions regarding your claim:
- you have a current disability;
- an event, injury, or diseases occurred during your military service; and
- there is a connection between your service and your current disability.
In some cases, the VA presumes that your military service and your disability are connected, such as exposure to Agent Orange or certain unexplained illnesses for Gulf War veterans. In these cases, you will only need to provide evidence of the first two points.
Once you have uploaded all of your documents, you will have the option to certify that you have no more evidence to submit. This certification will qualify your claim as an FDC.
Once you submit your FDC, it will be processed more quickly than traditional claims because the VA does not need to contact multiple different parties to request evidence. This means you get the decision on your claim faster.
If the VA determines that there is additional evidence that you did not include, then your claim will be processed as a traditional claim. This may take a little longer, but it does not disqualify your claim or require you to submit another claim.
If you need help appealing your case, get help from a veterans law practitioner. Our veterans lawyers have helped thousands of veterans with their VA claim appeals. Contact us for a no-cost consultation.