How to file a VA disability claim
How to file a claim for disability compensation or increased disability compensation.
Four Steps to Prepare Before Starting Your Claims Application
- Check to see if you are eligible for VA Disability compensation
- If you have evidence get it organized and ready to submit.
- Double check your claims application to make sure it is complete and that all your evidence is ready to send. Learn about Fully Developed Claims.
- Co you need to turn in any additional forms? Find out here.
What evidence do I need to support my claim?
- VA medical records and hospital records that relate to your claimed illnesses or injuries or that show your rated disability has gotten worse
- Private medical records and hospital reports that relate to your claimed illnesses or injuries or that show your disability has gotten worse
- Supporting statements you’d like to provide from family members, friends, clergy members, law enforcement personnel, or those you served with that can tell us more about your claimed condition and how and when it happened or how it got worse
Depending on the type of claim you file, you may gather supporting documents yourself, or you can ask for our help to gather evidence.
We’ll also review your discharge papers (DD214 or other separation documents) and service treatment records.
Please note: You don’t have to submit any evidence to support your claim, but we may need to schedule a claim exam so we can learn more about your condition.
You should also know that you have up to a year from the date we receive your claim to turn in any evidence. If you start your application and need time to gather more supporting documents, you can save your application and come back later to finish it. We’ll recognize the date you started your application as your date of claim as long as you complete it within 365 days.
How do I file a VA disability claim?
File Right Now File a disability compensation claim
You can also file a disability claim:
File your claim by mail using an Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits (VA Form 21-526EZ).
Get VA Form 21-526EZ to download
Print the form, fill it out, and send it to this address:
Department of Veterans Affairs
Claims Intake Center
PO Box 4444
Janesville, WI 53547-4444
Bring your application to a VA regional office near you.
Find a VA regional office near you
With the help of a trained professional
You can work with a trained professional called an accredited representative to get help filing a claim for disability compensation.
Get help filing your claim
Should I submit an intent to file form?
If you plan to file for disability compensation using a paper form, you may want to submit an intent to file form first. This can give you the time you need to gather your evidence while avoiding a later potential start date (also called an effective date). When you notify us of your intent to file, you may be able to get retroactive payments (compensation that starts at a point in the past).
Note: You don’t need to notify us of your intent to file if you file for disability compensation online. This is because your effective date gets set automatically when you start filling out your disability compensation form online—before you submit it.
What happens after I file my VA disability claim?
You don’t need to do anything while you’re waiting unless we send you a letter asking for more information. If we schedule exams for you, be sure not to miss them.
How long does it take VA to make a decision?
Average number of days to complete disability-related claims in August 2022