▾ eBenefits Development Letter Sent
Development letters are sent in the early stages of your claim. The development letter acknowledges your claim and asks for additional evidence if you have any. The VA is legally required to send this letter to you see 38CFR3.159.
What does eBenefits Development Letter Sent mean?
eBenefits Development Letter is generated and sent in the early stages of your claim. It acknowledges your claim and asks for additional evidence if you have any. The VA is legally required to send this letter to you. see 38CFR3.159
38CFR3.159 (a) Definitions. For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply: (1) Competent medical evidence means evidence provided by a person who is qualified through education, training, or experience to offer medical diagnoses, statements, or opinions. Competent medical evidence may also mean statements conveying sound medical principles found in medical treatises. It would also include statements contained in authoritative writings such as medical and scientific articles and research reports or analyses. (2) Competent lay evidence means any evidence not requiring that the proponent have specialized education, training, or experience. Lay evidence is competent if it is provided by a person who has knowledge of facts or circumstances and conveys matters that can be observed and described by a layperson.
The letter may ask for things that don’t apply to your case, like buddy statements, or it may ask for items you’ve already submitted, like medical records. The development letter will also contain blank forms. Most likely, you filled out all the required forms already. The blank forms are only attached if you have additional evidence you want to submit. You do not have to send in everything the VA asks for; you only have to send anything you haven’t already submitted.
NOTE: VA.gov and eBenefits describe the claims process differently, but the status and other details are correct in both places.
What do the “3 Phases of Claim Status” mean in eBenefits?
Development – This is the initial part of the claims process. The claimant is provided information as to what information is needed for the claim and an opportunity to provide or identify any additional evidence to support the claim. All appropriate evidence is gathered and reviewed.
Decision – All information and evidence are carefully reviewed to ensure we have everything we need to make an informed decision on the claim. If something is missing, the claim returns to the development phase to obtain that missing information. A proposed decision will be made if all the needed evidence is received.
Notification – Once the decision is reviewed carefully and approved, a notification letter is sent to the claimant.
You may go from Pending Decision to Gathering Evidence and back to Pending Decision in a day or a week. Know that it is crazy-making, that it is normal, and that you are not alone.
Your claim can go from any step to back a step depending on the specifics of the claim, so you may go from Pending Decision Approval back to Review of Evidence. Ebenefits status is helpful but not definitive.
Stages of a Claim
There are eight distinct steps that most claims for disability compensation follow. These phases may vary in time depending on the complexity of the claim, the amount of evidence that must be gathered to support the claims, and the type of evidence. You are strongly encouraged to submit your claim with as much evidence as possible to help minimize processing time. The eight steps of claims processing are as follows:
Claim ReceivedYour claim has been received by Veterans Affairs. If you applied online with VONAPP Direct Connect, you should see a receipt in your list of Open Claims within one hour. If you applied through U.S. mail, please allow mailing time plus one week for us to process and record the receipt of your claim.
Under ReviewYour 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.
Gathering of EvidenceThe 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. Preparation for Decision phase.
Review of EvidenceWe have received all the needed evidence. If, upon review, it is determined that more evidence is required, the claim will be sent back to the review of Evidence phase.
Preparation for DecisionThe Veterans Service Representative has recommended a decision and is preparing the required documents detailing that decision. If more evidence is required, the claim will be sent back in the process for more information or evidence.
Pending Decision ApprovalThe recommended decision is reviewed, and a final award approval is made. 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.
Preparation for NotificationYour entire claim decision packet is prepared for mailing. Preparation for the Decision phase.
CompleteThe 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. Preparation for the Decision phase.
Status Messages a Final Note
Your claim can go from any step to back a step depending on the specifics of the claim, so you may go from Pending Decision Approval back to Review of Evidence. eBenefits status is helpful but not definitive.