One of the most common questions we hear is, “how long is this going to take?” Unfortunately, the length of time it takes to get a VA benefits claim approved varies from person to person. It has been our experience it can take anywhere from a month to a year (sometimes more) to get approval for VA disability. In 2022 the average number of days to complete a disability-related claim was 152 days which is nearly months. However, the length of time you will wait for a decision in your case will depend on several key factors, including:
- Type of claim filed. There are many kinds of VA disability claims, and each requires a different level of processing. For example, a Fully Developed Claim (FDC) has a faster processing time than an original claim. If you were denied benefits but are appealing the decision, you have a reopened claim, which may take additional time due to the gathering of further information.
- Type of disability. The VA will base its disability decision (and percentage of disability) on the medical evidence that you provide of your condition. If you have an extremely complex disability (such as PTSD or a mental disorder) or are claiming disability for more than one condition, your processing may take longer.
- Evidence. One of the most time-consuming aspects of your claim is gathering the necessary evidence to make a determination. If you did not provide enough information, or the information needed to make your disability decision is not readily available, you will likely see further delays.
- Location. Finally, your processing time will vary depending on where you live. Claims for Nebraskans are processed at the Regional Benefit Office in Lincoln.
Is There a Way to Get My Benefits Faster?
There are several ways to get your benefits approved more quickly. If you apply under the Fully Developed Claims program, you may get a faster decision as long as you can provide all medical evidence needed for your claim up front.
You can submit a fully developed disability claim if you’re applying for compensation for:
- An illness or injury (also called a condition) that was caused by—or got worse because of—your active-duty service, or
- A condition that was caused—or made worse—by a disability we’ve already determined is service-connected
For the VA to consider your claim fully developed, you’ll need to:
- Submit your completed Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits (VA Form 21-526EZ), and
- Submit all the evidence (supporting documents) you have—or can easily get—along with your claim, and
- Certify that there’s no more evidence the VA might need to decide your claim, and
- Go to any VA medical exams required for them to decide your claim. The VA will let you know if you need any exams.
You can also hire an attorney to collect information and follow up with the VA on your behalf, increasing your chances of approval. For a free evaluation of your claim, give us a call at 402-933-5405, or end us an email at [email protected] or fill out the quick contact form on this page.