If you are a veteran and have been awarded VA disability benefits for medical problems connected to your service, did the VA properly compute the effective date for your conditions? We raise this question because it is critically important.

Basically, the general rule for setting the effective date is the date the claim was filed or the date entitlement arose, whichever is later. An effective date is used by the VA as the start date for the payment of your disability benefits. In some cases, this is not the earliest possible effective date, which can mean your benefits have been reduced. Because of the lengthy time it takes the VA to decide disability cases, most disabled veterans receive retroactive benefits—the money VA owes you for the time that has elapsed from your effective date to the time you are granted benefits. If the VA got the effective date wrong then you may have been seriously short-changed on your retroactive benefits.

If you believe the VA applied the wrong effective date for your claim we recommend that you file an appeal. There are situations where the VA may get the basic effective date wrong. Let me offer you a couple of examples:

The VA does not award the intent to file date and they award a later claim filing that happened within year of the intent to file.

Or, let’s say you have PTSD rated at 10% and you apply to have your rating increased. After many appeals over the course of a year or more, the VA awards an increase to 70% with your benefits dated to a recent C and P examination. This later effective date takes away a year or more of your back-pay. In this case you may want to argue that a private medical opinion or your treatment records show a 70% disability as of the date of the filing or argue that an earlier C and P exam supports a 70% rating.

If the VA did not correctly set your effective date, then you are being deprived of all the benefits you have rightfully earned. If you believe this happened with your VA disability claim, contact us at Cuddigan Law. We will give you a free evaluation of your situation and offer solid legal advice on the best way to move forward.



Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska