New Rules for VA Claims As Of March 15, 2015

If you file a claim after March 15, 2015 new rules apply.
Questions to answer
  • What are all these terms
    • FDC
    • DBQ
    • Standardized Forms
      • There is now only one form for filing each benefit – compensation, pension and dependency indemnity compensation and one form for submitting an appeal for a compensation claim.
    • Intent to File (Formerly informal claim, rules have changed)
  • Ways To File A Claim
    • File Online – When filing a claim for compensation, the fastest and easiest way to file is electronically through eBenefits.
    • Paper Filing
      • If you are a Veteran filing for compensation, you must now use VA Form 21-526EZ, Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits.
      • If you are a wartime Veteran filing for a needs-based pension, you must use VA Form VA Form 21-527EZ, Application for Pension.
      • If you are the survivor of a Veteran filing for dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC), survivors’ pension, and/or accrued benefits, use VA Form 21-534EZ, Application for DIC, Death Pension, and/or Accrued Benefits.
      • If you plan on appealing your claim’s decision, VA will provide you a form. This is called the Standard Notice of Disagreement, or VA Form 21-0958. If you receive a compensation decision on or after March 24, 2015 you will have to use this form if you want to appeal. Those wanting to appeal pension and survivors benefits are not required to use the standard NOD at this time.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is working to make filing claims and appeals as fast and easy as possible. Beginning Tuesday, March 24, 2015, claims and appeals must be filed using the appropriate form. Standardizing forms will ease frustration among claimants, make claims processing more efficient and help VA reach more accurate decisions.
There are three major actions that will require a specific form or standardized process: Intent to File, claims applications, and Notice of Disagreement.
When filing a formal claim, the following forms should be completed and submitted to VA either electronically via eBenefits (ebenefits.va.gov) or the Stakeholder Enterprise Portal(sep.va.gov), or by mailing the completed paper form to VA:

  • For disability benefits, applicants must now use VA Form 21-526EZ, Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits.
  • To apply for needs-based pension, use VA Form 21-527EZ, Application for Pension. To file a claim for dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC), survivor’s pension, and accrued benefits, claimants should complete VA Form 21-534EZ, Application for DIC, Death Pension, and/or Accrued Benefits .

Applicants who are not ready to file a claim for disability, but wish to preserve a date of claim while  gathering evidence and completing the necessary application form should use one of the following three methods to communicate an intent to file a claim to VA:

Finally, Veterans filing a Notice of Disagreement with a compensation decision should use VA Form 21-0958, Notice of Disagreement. Veterans and their representatives currently use the form on an optional basis. However, beginning March 24, 2015, Veterans must use this form when VA provides the form with a decision notice letter. Veterans and survivors will not be required to use a standardized notice of disagreement form for other types of claims (i.e., pension or survivors benefits) at this time.
If you are unable to download these forms from va.gov/vaforms/, call 800-827-1000 to have the correct form sent to your home.
Requiring standard forms will help VA more quickly identify what the applicant is claiming and gather the evidence required to process the claim or appeal. Standardized forms are a key component of VA’s transformation, which will help achieve the Department’s goal to eliminate the backlog in 2015.