Veterans Disability Benefits Timeline
Step One: Initial Application Timeline
The amount of processing time for initial applications vary from different VAROs.
1. Claim is filed: This is the very first step for every veterans disability benefits claim. When you file your claim, make sure you apply for all your service-connected disabilities at once. This can help your claim move through the veterans disability benefits timeline a little faster.
2. VA Rating Decision: The good news is the time to reach an initial decision has shortened thanks to VA reforms. The bad news is that created a backlog at the appeal stage. Currently, most initial decisions are issued within months. They used to take well over a year.
Step Two: Veterans Benefits Administration Timeline
In 2016 the NOD and SOC took an average of 480 days. The Form-9 and SSOC phase took an average of 644 days.
1. Notice of Disagreement (NOD): You will need to file your Notice of Disagreement (NOD) to let the VA know you disagree with your Rating Decision. Veterans have one year to file their NOD. When you file your NOD, you should let the VA know specifically which issues you are appealing.
2. Statement of the Case (SOC): This is a decision you will get from the VA whether you request a DRO hearing or not. Some vets do receive benefits from the SOC. But many veterans are once again denied at this level. If you are denied again, veterans have sixty (60) days to file a Form 9.
3. Form-9: The VA Form 9 is also known as a Substantive Appeal. As you have now formally been denied VA disability benefits, it is time to take your case to the BVA. You must file a Form-9 at this point in the veterans disability benefits timeline.
4. Supplemental Statement of the Case (SSOC): These are generally required with new evidence that may have been submitted with the Form-9. SOCs may also be provided after an appeal is remanded to the RO by the Board for new or additional action.
Step Three: Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA) Timeline
In 2016, certification to the Board took an average of 288 days. After that, the average wait time for a Board decision was 248 days.
1. Certification to the Board: Hearings are scheduled after your certification to the Board. You do have the option to submit paper briefs and skip the hearing. We generally do not see the upside to hearings. Paper briefs are sufficient to prove your claim.
2. Board decision: At this point in the veterans disability benefits timeline, the Board will make a decision. The Board has the option to deny, grant, or remand (see below).
3. Potential remand: The Board may decide to send your claim back to the VA Regional Office (VARO). Generally, a BVA remanded decision will instruct the VARO how to proceed on your veterans disability benefits claim. The Board may direct them to get more evidence or even schedule an exam.
Step Four: US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) Timeline
If your veterans disability benefits timeline takes you to the CAVC, there are three things that could happen to your claim. Here are the three different things that may happen to your claim at this point in the veterans disability benefits timeline:
- CAVC grants or denies: Under this scenario, the CAVC may go ahead and grant or deny your claim.
- Remand to the BVA: This could extend your veterans disability benefits timeline. If the CAVC remands your case back the BVA, there will be another waiting period for the BVA to make a decision or to follow the CAVC’s recommendations.
- Supreme Court: Some veterans disability benefits claims make it to the U.S. Supreme Court. However, very few claims end up heading to the Supreme Court.
Expediting Your Veterans Disability Benefits Timeline
A very large number of the new calls to our military disability compensation lawyers are about the veterans disability benefits timeline. Many veterans are concerned how long VA claims take and want their claim expedited. We want to warn you, the VA expedites very few claims. On top of that, the reasons for expediting VA compensation benefits timelines are very few. Here are the most common reasons claims are expedited:
- Advanced age
- Former POW’s
- Medal of Honor recipients
- Severe financial hardship
- Survivors of POW’s
- Terminal illness
- Veterans in Fully Developed Claim (FCD) program
Talk To Us For Free About Your Veterans Disability Benefits Timeline
Free claim evaluation: Have questions about your veterans disability benefits timeline? Talk to Woods & Woods veterans disability benefits lawyers for free. Find out if you have a good claim for veterans disability benefits. Phone calls are always free and our staff is always happy to answer your questions.
Get help applying: The VA disability lawyers at Woods & Woods never charge for help with your application. Many disabled veterans don’t know where to begin their claims. We can help get you on the right track to obtaining your veterans disability benefits.
You only pay if you win your appeal: If you hire our veterans disability lawyers we only charge if your appeal is successful. Our fee is a percentage of your back pay and case expenses. We never touch your future benefits. If your appeal is not successful, you don’t owe us a penny.
We’ve helped thousands of veterans: The VA disability compensation lawyers at Woods & Woods have successfully represented thousands of veterans. Since 1985, our law firm has aggressively represented injured and disabled people through some very tough times in peoples’ lives.