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How do I Apply for VA Compensation?

Published on June 13th, 2019

There are two routes for applying for veterans disability compensation. You can apply when  you are leaving the armed services, or you can apply after your discharge. The only scenario in which you would apply when leaving service is if a disability or illness has become apparent while you are on duty. But even then, many conditions apply. The vast majority of veterans apply for and obtain their benefits after they’ve left the service.

The application process does not always go smoothly. But you can improve your odds of getting a positive decision on your benefits application if you team up with an experienced legal professional. And if your application is denied either partially or entirely, you still have several opportunities to appeal. At Jackson & MacNichol, we have built our reputation on our ability to obtain benefits for deserving veterans. Give us a call at 800-524-3339 to learn how we can help with your case and get eth justice you deserve.

Understanding the Disability Compensation Claim Process

The first step you should take is determining whether you are eligible for compensation. Your eligibility depends on several factors, such as your discharge status and whether your disability was caused or made worse by your military service. Next, you’ll want to gather the evidence you need to support your claim. Most of this evidence will consist of documentation that focuses on your medical condition and the circumstances of your military service.

Taken together, this evidence should show that there is a connection between your disability and your military service. That will help the application process go more smoothly. Although you may file your claim before you have collected your documentation, this may result in your claim being delayed, or possibly rejected. If your claim has been rejected, an experienced veterans disability lawyer can help you appeal this decision.

When you are ready to file your disability claim, you have two submission options. You can file your claim online at the ebenefits website, or you can download and complete VA Form 21-526EZ and then take it to the local VA or mail it to the following address:

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Claims Intake Center
PO Box 4444
Janesville, WI 53547-4444

Alternatively, you can fax it to one of the following numbers:

  • Within the USA: (844) 531-7818
  • Outside of the USA: (248) 524-4260

Finally, you may also turn the application in person to a VA center near you.

Can I Apply for Compensation Before my Discharge from the Military?

If you believe an illness or injury has been caused or made worse by active duty service in the military, you may apply for disability benefits between 180 days and 90 days before your discharge date. The upside of applying for the Benefits Delivery at Discharge (BDD) program is that you might get your benefits sooner—perhaps as soon you leave the military. If you apply after your discharge, on the other hand, it usually takes at least several months to get your benefits and it may take much longer.

Your access to the BDD program is subject to several conditions. You will be excluded if any of the following applies to your case:

  • You have lost a body part
  • You are terminally ill
  • Your condition requires case management
  • You are awaiting discharge at a VA hospital or military treatment facility
  • You need to have the VA exam performed abroad (except Landstuhl, Germany, or Yongsan, Korea)
  • You are unable to have your VA medical exam within 45 days of your claim submission
  • You fail to complete your DoD separation medical exam before your discharge
  • You are pregnant
  • You have not gotten your character of discharge determination yet
  • You didn’t submit copies of your treatment records
  • You added a medical condition with less than 90 days left on active duty

Regardless of the path to compensation that you choose, you will need to be organized, patient, and persevere to succeed. Sometimes, you may need the assistance of a lawyer to bring your compensation claim to a positive conclusion and get the justice you deserve. And that’s what the VA disability compensation lawyers of Jackson & MacNichol are here for. We are ready to answer your questions today at 800-524-3339.


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