The Department of Veterans Affairs disability claims process can be a very long and frustrating ordeal. There is no real concrete indication on how long a VA disability claim can take to process. This creates a lot of anxiety for veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs reports, as of , to have claims that are on backlog. I do understand that the VA is striving to make improvements on the claims process. I also understand that they are slammed with veterans claiming disabilities as well.
All of that being said the steps involved in the VA claims process can be very confusing for a veteran. A veteran’s VA disability claim can move forward to the next step in the process only to digress and go backwards to the previous step. I wanted to give you the steps involved in a VA Claim I found on Ebenefits. This for VA disability claims, not for VA appeals. I will touch on the appeals process in a later article.
Step 1: Claim Received
Your claim was received by the VA on 05/29/2018. If you applied online with VONAPP Direct Connect, you should see receipt in your list of Open Claims within one hour. If you applied through the U.S. mail, please allow mailing time plus one week for us to process and record receipt of your claim.
Step 2: Under Review
Your claim has been assigned to a Veterans Service Representative and is being reviewed to determine if additional evidence is needed. If we do not need any additional information, your claim will move directly to the Preparation for Decision phase.
Step 3: Gathering of Evidence
The Veterans Service Representative will request evidence from the required sources. Requests for evidence may be made of you, a medical professional, a government agency, or another authority. It is common for claims to return to this phase, should additional evidence be required.
Step 4: Review of Evidence
We have received all needed evidence. If, upon review, it is determined that more evidence is required, the claim will be sent back to the Gathering of Evidence phase
Step 5: Preparation for Decision
The Veterans Service Representative has recommended a decision, and is preparing required documents detailing that decision. If more evidence is required, the claim will be sent back in the process for more information or evidence.
Step 6: Pending Decision Approval
The recommended decision is reviewed, and a final award approval is made. We will process the decision and review it for accuracy, and notify you by mail. If it is determined that more evidence or information is required, the claim will be sent back in the process for more information or evidence.
Step 7: Preparation for Notification
Your entire claim decision packet is prepared for mailing.
Step 8: Complete
The VA has sent a decision packet to you by U.S. mail. The packet includes details of the decision or award. Please allow standard mailing time for your packet to arrive before contacting a VA call center.
There is no set time frame for an initial claim to be completed. I can only tell you from my personal experience the claims I’ve have taken between six and twelve month to be completed.