Government assistance programs mean well but are often full of complications and paperwork. The VA disability application process is no stranger to difficulties. The current backlog of compensation claims means new claimants may take months to years in order to see their benefits granted.
The Department of Veteran Affairs designed VA disability back pay to ensure that veterans were covered for the time they were waiting for compensation approval. While it doesn’t go back in time and make life easier, the back pay will pay out benefits from the effective date of the claim up to the date the benefits were granted. This can be life-changing for veterans who took on medical debt.
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs’ website defines VA disability compensation as a “monthly tax-free payment to Veterans.” Most people know that this covers veterans who were injured or became ill while serving in the military. What most people may not know is that VA disability covers both physical ailments and mental health problems. Even better, VA disability can cover conditions from “before, during, or after service.”
This means that regardless of your affliction and the timeline, most veterans should apply for VA disability since most veterans have a condition that qualifies them. This extensive coverage is one of the reasons the wait for benefits is so long.
Keep in mind that these benefits cover veterans for their full time in the military service, not just on active duty or deployed. There are also post-service claims, which involve conditions that were not apparent until after retiring or leaving the military.
The VA uses a lot of different terms to distinguish between important milestones. The effective date is the date that the VA will use for when compensation should begin. This is critical for back pay applications. The effective date is linked to the claim date or when the condition on the application was diagnosed.
How To Estimate The Amount
Back pay is paid in a lump sum, to help cover accrued medical or living expenses resulting from a disability. The VA uses a disability rating system to rank conditions. The disability rating of your condition will be the main factor in determining the amount of your back pay.
These VA disability compensation levels can be tricky to navigate. If you think that someone made a mistake with your claim or you were unfairly denied benefits, reach out to a professional with VA disability experience. Many lawyers have experience working to overturn cases that were denied by the VA Department. This may be your best option if your disability benefits were denied or do not reflect your disability.
Because of the long wait for benefits to be granted, compensation claims should be made as soon as you recognize a condition. There is technically no statute of limitations for filing a VA disability claim. However, back pay entitlement can only start within one calendar year of leaving the service, or while active. This fact is what trips up most people who were hoping for back pay.
Another time limit to keep in mind is that each claim needs to have all its supporting paperwork completed within one calendar year of the initial filing. Make sure you work with the VA to get everything in order as soon as possible.
Types of additional evidence the VA may request or require include service records, lay statements, employment records, and medical records. If you have sought multiple medical opinions, gathering your medical records may take some time.
How to Start
If you haven’t started to file your claim, the best time is right now. Head over to the official Veteran Affairs Department website to file your claim. The site will also walk you through any additional forms you may need to add to your claim. And remember, if you need assistance, that is very common and there are many legal professionals able to help.