When you apply for VA disability, you likely need help quickly. It can take the VA anywhere from 90 to 120 days to decide on a claim at the regional office. For some claims, it takes even longer. How long it takes for the VA to consider a claim depends on the workload in the regional office, the complexity of your disabilities, and the completeness of your initial claim.
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You don’t want to wait when you need financial help from the VA due to service-related conditions. After all, bill collectors don’t care that you’re waiting on a government agency for help. You need answers to the question, “How long does a VA claim take?”
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How long does a VA claim take?
How long a VA disability claim takes depends a lot on the regional office’s workload and how complicated your claim is. The current average wait time for a VA claim decision is 104.1 days.
Before the VA can make a decision on your claim, you must apply for VA disability benefits. If your issue is clearly service-connected, the VA may be able to process your claim more quickly.
You also may file to expedite your VA disability claim if you qualify.
To qualify for an expedited claim, you must be experiencing extreme financial hardship, terminal illnesses, or effects from a serious illness or injury that ended your service. This expedited option is also available for Medal of Honor recipients, Purple Heart Award recipients, former prisoners of war, and veterans of advanced age, and some other circumstances.
What happens to a VA disability application?
After you file a disability claim, the VA informs you via an onscreen message (if you submitted online) or through a letter (if you mailed your claim) that they received your claim. Then it takes specific steps to process your claim.
Processing a VA disability application requires:
- Initial Review – The VA assigns your claim to a reviewer and determines if your application is complete.
- Evidence Gathering and Review – During this step, the VA may ask for evidence from you health care providers, governmental agencies, or other parties who may have the information they need. Once they have all of the evidence they need, the VA reviews the information. The VA may return to this step repeatedly during the process if they think they need more evidence to make an informed decision. They also may require you to have a C&P exam during this stage of the process.
- Decision – The VA decides your case once all of the evidence is in order and reviewed.
- Notification – Once your case is decided, the VA prepares your decision packet. The VA mails you the packet in 7 to 10 business days following the decision.
If you disagree with the VA’s decision on your case, you may choose to appeal.
VA initial review
After the VA receives your claim, it will move into the initial review stage. During the initial review, the VA will review your medical diagnosis and your service record and determine if the two are connected (the link between the two is called a medical nexus).
During the initial review process, the VA will decide if they need any more evidence from you to support your claim or if the claim is incomplete. If it is, they will ask for a complete claim or further information. VA usually informs you about when they need the information by, although the more time you take, the longer it will take for your claim to process.
If they don’t need more information and your application is complete, they’ll move to the full evidence-gathering stage, if applicable.
What is my VA claim status?
While how quickly your VA claim will process is somewhat unknown, you can check your claim’s status at any time. Your claim status tells you where in the process described above your VA disability application is. You can check it through your My VA account.
To check your claim status:
- Visit Your “My VA” Dashboard – This link is at the top right corner of your government account (login.gov or ID.me, for example).
- Scroll to the “Track Claims” Section – This section shows a summary of the status of any open claims or appeals.
- Click “View Status” for a Specific Claim – Choosing to view the status will take you to a page with the latest information about that specific claim and supporting evidence.
How to speed up a VA disability claim
There’s not much you can do to speed up your VA disability claim unless you qualify to expedite it. The only other thing you can do to help the claims process go more quickly and smoothly is to ensure that your original claim information is as complete as possible.
Some of your medical conditions may be secondary service-connected to your injuries. You will likely need to submit medical documentation of your service-connected injury for VA disability compensation claims. Make sure all documents are completed accurately and that any supplemental information to help the VA decide your case is included.
Our VA disability lawyers can help
Woods and Woods has helped thousands of veterans get the VA benefits they deserve. Call us for a free case evaluation to find out how we can help. If we take your case, you only pay if we win.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
It can take the VA anywhere from 90 to 120 days to decide on a claim that isn’t expedited. How long it takes depends on the workload in the regional office, the complexity of your disabilities, and the completeness of the claim. You can assist in helping the process go more smoothly and quickly by ensuring that your initial claims information is complete and comprehensive.
Yes, you can check the status of your VA claim at any time by logging onto your official government account and reviewing claim status.