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Does the VA Provide Back Pay?

Published on July 19th, 2019

It’s well known that the application process for veterans disability compensation can take a long time. In many cases, veterans wait several years after applying before they get all their benefits. During the waiting period, it can be tough to make ends meet–especially if you are suffering from a condition that seriously affects your earning ability. The good news is that, if the VA finds you eligible for disability, it will also pay you back to the date of your current application to cover for the disability benefits you did not receive while you were awaiting the decision.

Many veterans disability claims go smoothly. But not everyone is so fortunate. Often veterans have to fight to get the compensation they deserve. If you have received a letter denying your access to disability benefits, you have one year to start the appeals process. At Jackson & MacNichol, we can help you gather the evidence and make the arguments that will give your veterans disability appeal the highest chances of success. Call us today at 800-524-3339 for a free consultation about your case.

How Does the VA Calculate Disability Back Pay?

VA disability benefits will compensate you for all the payments you should have been getting between the date you filed the most recent claim for eligibility for this condition and the date of your VA rating decision. Generally, if you filed an earlier claim but let it drop without appealing, the VA cannot pay you back to the date of that earlier claim.

The VA has two ways of determining your date of eligibility:

  • If you submit your disability claim within one year of your separation from the military, your date of eligibility is the date of your separation
  • If you submit your claim more than one year after your separation, your date of eligibility is the first day of the first full month after the VA received your claim.

For this reason, you should apply for disability compensation as soon as possible after your discharge from the military. If you fail to apply within one year of your separation, you could lose out on one year (or more) of disability back pay. For example, if you separated from the military in August 2018, and you apply for compensation in September 2019, you will not be entitled to receive any back pay for the period of August 2018 to August 2019.

Many veterans don’t apply for disability compensation until they are totally incapacitated. But under the VA’s definition of disability, you can receive compensation for some less serious injuries or medical conditions. All you need to show is that the injury or medical condition was service related. If you receive the lowest VA disability rating of 10 percent, you are entitled to a monthly payment of $140, tax free. This can provide a welcome boost to your personal finances.

Get Help from a Veterans Benefit Lawyer

Although there is no time limit for applying for veterans compensation, the issue of back pay means that it is more advantageous to apply within one year of your separation or as soon as your service connected condition is diagnosed. If more medical conditions develop over time, you can have more examinations with a VA doctor to increase your disability rating. If the VA gives you a lower disability rating than you deserve, or fails to recognize that your medical condition is service related, the disability compensation lawyers of Jackson & MacNichol can assist you. Call us for free at 800-524-3339 to learn how we can help with your case.


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