No. You should not wait to submit your veterans disability claim until VA appeals reform takes effect. In general, the sooner you submit your claim for VA disability benefits, the better. This becomes important later when determining your effective date if VA grants your claim.
Why You Should Submit Your Veterans Disability Claim Now
There are four main reasons you should submit your disability claim now instead of waiting for appeals reform to take effect:
Appeals Reform Does Not Affect the Filing of Your Initial Claim
Appeals reform is just that — an improvement of the veterans’ appeals system, not the initial claims filing system. When filing your initial claim, you follow the same steps as you always have.
Appeals Reform Will Not Take Full Effect Until February 2019 — At the Earliest
The absolute earliest appeals reform will take effect is 540 days after the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 was signed — February 14, 2019. However, if implementation takes longer than expected, the launch date could be pushed back.
If you wait to submit your claim, you might end up waiting months or over a year longer than necessary, missing out on compensation you and your family desperately need.
A Later Filing Date May Entitle You to Less
The earlier you file your claim, the earlier you are entitled to compensation. Consider the following situations:
Situation 1: You file your claim on July 1, 2018. The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) grants your claim on November 1, 2018. You begin receiving monthly benefits December 1, 2018, but you are also entitled to benefits going back to the day VA received your claim for benefits. These are known as retroactive benefits.
Situation 2: You wait until appeals reform takes effect to file your claim (you file March 1, 2019). The VBA grants your claim on November 1, 2019. You are entitled to monthly benefits going back until March 1, 2019.
If you had not waited until appeals reform took effect, and filed earlier like in Situation 1, you could have received nine months more in retroactive benefits. Depending on the monthly benefit to which you are entitled, this could be a significant amount of money.
If You Receive a Claims Denial, You Can Opt-In to RAMP
If you file your claim and receive a denial before appeals reform is fully implemented, you can file a Notice of Disagreement and opt-in to Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP) — appeals reform’s pilot program — at the time you file your appeal.
This may help you get a decision much quicker because you get the ball rolling sooner rather than later.
Filing a Veterans Disability Claim
Filing a claim is fairly straightforward. You have four options:
- File online
- File in-person at your regional VA benefits office
- Mail your application
- File with the help of an accredited agent or representative
Have More Questions? Call 800-544-9144 for a Free Case Evaluation with a Member of the CCK Team
Unfortunately, VA benefits denials are all too common. If the VBA denies your disability benefits application, give us a call. The veterans law team at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD can help you win the VA disability benefits you deserve. For a free case evaluation with a member of our team, call our office today at 800-544-9144.« Return to the Veterans' Resource Center
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