• New Look Coming Soon! – Check back for our new website!

Adjust Font Size:

Achieving an Earlier Effective Date for VA Compensation

Earlier Effective Date for VA Claim

As part of an award of benefits, VA establishes an “effective date” of the award. An effective date is used by VA as a start date for the payment of disability benefits for a claim, in other words, it is the date that a benefit became effective. Often, this date is the date that the veteran filed his or her most recent claim for disability compensation or increased compensation. Sometimes, this is not the earliest possible effective date, and there are several ways to argue for an earlier effective date if you believe you are entitled.

Why An Earlier Effective Date Can Matter

An earlier effective date is important because it could result in a veteran receiving more retroactive benefits. Generally, the earlier the effective date, the more retroactive benefits VA must pay. Retroactive benefits are the monies VA owes to a veteran for the time that has elapsed from the veteran’s effective date to the time they are granted benefits.


How Veterans Can Argue for an Earlier Effective Date

There are several methods veterans can use to argue for an earlier effective date of their benefits:

Clear and Unmistakable Errors (“CUEs”)

A clear and unmistakable error (“CUE”) is a rare type of error made by VA that could potentially result in an earlier effective date for benefits. CUEs are a way for a veteran to challenge a final VA decision, meaning a decision that the veteran did not appeal within the proper appeal period.

New Military Records

Under 38 C.F.R. 3.156(c), a veteran can receive an earlier effective date if VA denied their original claim for service connection, and then later obtained service records in a subsequent claim that substantiated the veteran’s original claim.

VA outlines specific types of service records that would qualify under the regulation.

Claims Filed Within Year from Discharge

For veterans who file a claim for disability compensation within one year of their military discharge, VA can grant benefits back to the date of the veteran’s discharge.

New and Material Evidence Submitted Within an Appeal Period

Under 3.156(b), if a veteran submits new and material evidence within the appeal period of a decision from the Regional Office (RO), and VA does not provide notice or a determination as to whether that evidence is new and material, the veteran may be able to argue that their claim is still open with VA.

Here is an example:

A veteran filed for service connection for a left knee disability in November 1990 and was denied by the RO in March 1991. The RO’s decision states that they were not able to find evidence of the veteran’s claimed in-service injury. Veterans have one year from the date of a rating decision to submit a Notice of Disagreement (NOD). However, in June 1991, within the one year appeal period, this Veteran submitted service records that VA did not consider which showed in-service treatment for his left knee disability. VA did not send him notice of a determination as to whether that evidence is considered new and material. The Veteran did not submit a NOD within the appeal period and VA closed his claim.

The Veteran then submitted a claim to reopen his claim for service connection for his left knee in 2000. The RO subsequently granted him service connection.

In this scenario, since VA did not send him notice of a determination regarding the evidence he submitted in June 1991, the Veteran could argue that his claim is still open, and that he is entitled to an effective date for his left knee disability potentially back to his original claim in November 1990.

Again, in this scenario, VA did not address the Veteran’s new evidence, and failure to address the evidence may prevent VA from closing a Veteran’s claim, leaving it open and unadjudicated.


Securing the Correct VA Benefit Compensation for Veterans

If the effective date is incorrect, then a veteran is likely being deprived of the correct compensation they are entitled to. For example, an award with an effective date one year earlier would entitle the veteran to one year of retroactive benefits. But, if the effective date may be earlier, perhaps years earlier, this entitles the veteran to many times the award granted by VA.


Our Veterans Benefits Lawyers Can Help

CCK’s veterans benefits lawyers have many years of experience in determining whether VA has awarded the correct effective date in a veteran’s claim. Our veterans lawyers are experienced with VA’s regulations and court caselaw that may help a veteran secure an earlier effective date and also secure his or her correct compensation.


  • It has been one of the best legal experiences that I have personally encountered. Their follow up and their follow thru has been on perfect terms. Wow, they have given me a celebrity experience! Impressive! Read More » K. Nade, October 2017
  • These people are FANTASTIC!!! I highly recommend this firm to Veterans everywhere. Honest Legal Help like this is priceless and they are extremely skilled. So Satisfied with the results...5 stars!! Read More » Anonymous, October 2017
  • I cannot begin to say how grateful I am to this Firm. From the Class A staff to the Lawyers, there are no complaints. Everyone treated me fantastic!! After 30 yrs of fighting on my own, they were able to win my case in less than 15 months. Read More » C. Marie, September 2017
  • My case was initially rejected by the VA but with the thorough review by CC&K , the VA agreed with the case that CC&K made and awarded my initial rating of 30% retroactive to 1975. Read More » Edward M., September 2017
  • We had struggled for eight plus years, with the VA, and got nowhere. Our case was sent to CC&K and in less than one year, we were they won all his back pay and 100% rating. We could not be more pleased. We highly recommend this firm for anyone struggling with the VA. Read More » Anonymous, September 2017
  • I thought I could go it alone. I filed several disability claims through the VA only to be denied over and over again. I knew I needed help. I found that help with the law firm of Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick. They filed for me and won. Read More » Gene W., July 2017
  • I'm so glad we sought the help of CCK on my husband's VA claim. We had been going back and forth with the VA for 5 years on his claim without seeing any progress. Then we found CCK and the case was resolved in about a year! Read More » Sarah C., June 2017
  • I was fighting for my VA disability compensation for 10 years. I was ready to give up and then CCK took my case. I immediately felt at ease because they kept me informed every step of the way and there was so much less stress for me. Read More » Raul B., March 2017
  • Badge
  • Badge
  • Badge
  • Badge
  • Badge
  • Badge
  • Badge
To Top
Click to call
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages