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Best Way To File A VA Disability Claim

Last updated: January 31, 2024

Effective VA disability claim filing requires thorough preparation, including gathering relevant medical and service records.

Understanding eligibility criteria and selecting the correct claim type are crucial for a successful VA disability claim.

In case of claim denial or dissatisfaction with the decision, exploring appeal options like Supplemental Claim or Higher-Level Review is essential.

For many veterans, navigating the Veterans Affairs (VA) disability claims procedure can be a difficult undertaking. It is essential to comprehend the nuances of this method in order to guarantee that you obtain the advantages that you are entitled to. With the goal of giving you a thorough understanding of the most efficient and successful methods for submitting a VA disability claim, this comprehensive guide intends to give you an authoritative and educational overview.

Fast Facts

VA disability claims can address both physical injuries and psychological conditions like PTSD.

Understanding VA Disability Claims

Knowing what a VA disability claim is is crucial before beginning the filing process. In essence, it's a request that veterans make to the VA in order to get acknowledgment and benefits for diseases or injuries that they contracted or became worse while they were serving in the military. These impairments might be psychological, like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or physical, such as wounds received during conflict.

Step 1: Gather Necessary Documentation

The most important and initial step in submitting a VA disability claim is assembling the required paperwork. This includes any civilian and military medical records pertinent to the impairments you are claiming. 

Any pertinent service records that show the relationship between your service and your handicap should also be included. Additional information about your health provided by personal remarks or buddy letters may also be helpful.

Step 2: Understand Your Eligibility

You must have served on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training and receive a disability rating for your service-connected condition in order to be eligible for VA disability benefits. To make sure your claim is legitimate, it is essential to comprehend the qualifying requirements.

Step 3: Choose the Right Claim Type

VA disability claims can be of three different types: increasing disability claims, secondary claims, and fresh claims. An increased disability claim is for an existing ailment that has gotten worse, whereas a fresh claim is for a condition that has never been claimed before. Secondary claims cover conditions resulting from a disability related to service. Selecting the appropriate kind of claim is essential to an application's success.

Fast Facts

The VA may require a Compensation & Pension (C&P) exam to assess the connection and severity of the disability.

Step 4: File Your Claim

There are numerous ways to submit your VA disability claim: by mail, in person at a regional VA office, or online using the eBenefits portal. Online filing is frequently the most effective option because it offers faster processing times and the capacity to monitor the progress of your claim.

Step 5: Attend a Compensation & Pension (C&P) Exam

The VA may ask you to appear for a Compensation & Pension (C&P) exam after you file your claim. The VA will use this exam to assess the extent of your disability and how it relates to your service. Therefore, it is very important. You must show up for this assessment and provide a detailed medical history.

Fast Facts

VA-accredited representatives and veterans' organizations offer valuable assistance in navigating the VA disability claims process.

Step 6: Understand the Rating Decision

The VA will decide on your claim after they have all the required data. A rating decision detailing the degree of your handicap and the total amount of compensation you will get will be sent to you if your application is accepted. You must comprehend this choice because it impacts your benefits.

Step 7: Consider Filing an Appeal if Necessary

You have the opportunity to file an appeal if the rating decision is unsatisfactory or if your claim is rejected. A Supplemental Claim, a Higher-Level Review, or an appeal to the Board of Veterans' Appeals is among the potential avenues for appeal. It's critical to comprehend these choices and select the one that best fits your circumstances.


Filing a VA disability claim requires careful preparation. Gather essential documents, verify eligibility, select the appropriate claim type, and complete all steps, including mandatory exams. For challenges, seek help from VA-accredited representatives or veterans' organizations. Successfully navigating this process is vital for receiving the benefits you deserve for your service.

Are you thinking about hiring a lawyer for VA claims? Read more about the importance of seeking legal professionals in VA law from our blogs at Disability Help.

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Chloe Powers
Chloe works with policymakers on behalf of Disability Help to support their work at a strategic level, ensuring the conditions are in place for creative individuals and organizations to grow, reach their potential and effect relevant, sustainable change.
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