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The VA Claim Process and Type of Claims


The length of time it takes to complete a claim depends on several factors, such as the type of claim filed, the complexity of your disability(s), the number of disabilities you claim, and the availability of evidence needed to decide your 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 as much evidence as possible with your claim to help minimize processing time.

VA Claim Formula:

Record of In-Service Injury or Illness +

+ Current Diagnosis and Continued Treatment of the Condition Since Your Separation

+ A VA Exam Validating the Conditions and Determining the level of Said Condition

= Successful Claim. Gaps in this process must be explained through your statements. Anything short of this will cause significant delays in the process of your VA disability claim.

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Original Claim

Your first claim for disability compensation - You have never filed a claim for disabilities.


Increased Claim

VA duties on receipt of a request for an increased rating are similar to that for an initial claim. However, because service connection has already been established, the development of an increased rating is usually focused on medical evidence regarding the severity of the condition. Generally, VA schedules a C&P examination regardless of the medical evidence submitted by the claimant. If awarded, the effective date of an increased rating is when VA receives the request for an increase. The denial of an increased rating can be appealed the same way as an initial claim.


New Claim

File a claim for added benefits or other benefit requests related to an existing service-connected disability. The VA’s decision on your new claim will be based only on new evidence (like a doctor’s report or medical test results) that you give us to support your claim. They won’t consider any evidence you may have given us related to past claims.

Secondary Claim

You can file a secondary claim to get more disability benefits for a new disability that’s linked to a service-connected disability you already have. For example, you might file a secondary claim if you:


  • Develop arthritis that’s caused by a service-connected knee injury you got while on active duty, or

  • Develop heart disease that’s caused by the high blood pressure you were diagnosed with while on active duty and that we’d previously concluded was connected to your service

The VA Disability Advocates Main Office is Located in Las Vegas, NV. We Represent Veterans throughout the United States. 702-992-4883 

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