It’s too late to file a disability claim; I left active duty years ago!
There is no timeline to file a disability claim for a service-connected disability. However, it’s much easier to file a claim shortly after leaving the military. This is because you need to establish a connection to your illness or injury and your military service. This is easier when done shortly after leaving the military. However, some illnesses and injuries don’t occur until years after leaving military service. This is something that has received national attention in recent years as many veterans from the Korean and Vietnam War eras have been diagnosed with cancers and other medical conditions associated with Agent Orange exposure or related chemicals, or exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. Other exposure hazards include mustard gas, asbestos, ionizing radiation, Project 112/SHAD (chemical tests to defend against biological and chemical weapons threats), and Radiogenic Risk Activities. You can learn more about these chemical exposures. In these cases, it can take years or even decades before symptoms occur. Remember, there is no time limit to file a claim! Here is an article from a veteran who filed VA disability claims several years after separating from active duty.