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CCK Live Under 5:00: Back Pay

When Will I Get My VA Disability Back Pay?

Video Transcription

Emma Peterson: Hi, I am Emma Peterson, an attorney here at Chisholm Chisholm and Kilpatrick, and welcome to our new CCK Shorts. Today, we are going to be talking about “When will I get my VA disability back pay?”, which is certainly a hot topic. Back pay is the compensation that the VA owes to Veterans from the effective date they were granted their claim, to the date they were actually granted those benefits. So as all of you out there watching probably know VA takes their time and can take anywhere from months to years to grant certain benefits. So those months and years that you are waiting for your benefits to come into effect is going to result in back pay or a large retroactive award.

Emma: The effective date is the start date that VA began to owe you money and the end date of back retroactive award is the date they grant the benefit. So what is going to be the start date? It is either going to be most of the time the day that your claim was received by VA or it could also be the date entitlement arose and there are special considerations for folks who are Vietnam veterans, the Blue Water veterans and you can certainly check out our website at for more in-depth detailed information about effective date for most people out there. It is going to be the date they filed their claim. So back pay is issued all at once in one lump sum following the grant of benefits.

Emma: Typically the longer VA takes to decide your claim, the larger that retroactive award will be. Just note that if you do have service or separation pay these most likely going to recoup that out of that retroactive award. VA says that veterans should receive their back pay within fifteen days of a decision granting the retroactive benefits, but that is just not always the case. It is not uncommon for the VA to take several months to issue back paychecks and retroactive awards and just know that larger awards are going to take a longer amount of time because they have to go through several levels of administrative review before VA will release those funds to you. If you have any questions about where your back pay is? Is it being held up? You can call the veterans helpline at 1 (800) 827-1000.

Emma: Someone there will attempt to help you find out where is your back pay? What is going on with it? What is its status? So how much will I receive? That is another great question and it is going to depend on your effective date, and the date your disability, and the rating your disability is awarded. Again the higher the rating, the more back pay that VA is going to owe you. Check out our website. We do have a retroactive award calculator where you can put in what you are rating is going to be, the date of that rating, how many months you have been waiting? And it should spit out a general number for you. You can look at VA’s historical rating tables. Cost of living adjustments happens most years.

Emma: So, you know a ten percent in 1976 is going to be very different from a ten percent rating today. For all with that grant of benefits, you are going to receive a monthly compensation award. So every month going forward whatever you are rated at from ten percent to a hundred percent. You are going to get one payment a month and that is going forward in time. So one lump sum once you get service-connected or get your increased rating and then going forward a monthly payment. Many people think that VA is going to pay a veteran or pay, you know, themselves all the way back to the date of injury or event in service.

Emma: Now if you happen to file, you know, right after you were discharged the day after a year after you kept that claim alive, and yes, you might get payment all the way back to the date of service. But if you did not file for ten years, twenty years after you are discharged from service, the start date of that retroactive award is going to be the date of your claim barring any you know, special exceptions. Another common misconception is that VA will pay veterans all the way back as I mentioned a date of discharge so the date of injury, you are not going to get paid because you are in service, you are on active duty. Date of discharge only going to happen if you file right after you were discharged or within a year of discharge. Thank you so much for joining us. And as always you can find more in-depth information on our website at Please be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for all the updated info or disability law. Thank you.