The VA Claim Process

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

Visit or Call 702-209-5722 for your free consultation. 

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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


Reopen a Previously Denied Claim (0995) Supplemental Claim

To reopen a previously denied claim, you must provide new and relevant evidence not previously submitted to the VA in a prior decision. The VA will consider reopening the claim if you meet all of these requirements:


  • We denied your disability claim, and

  • You didn’t file an appeal at that time, and

  • You have new and relevant evidence (new supporting documents like a doctor’s report or medical test results) that we haven’t seen before and that’s directly related to your claim


VA Individual Unemployability (TDIU)

If you can’t work because of a disability related to your service in the military (a service-connected disability), you may qualify for what’s called “Individual Unemployability.” This means you may be able to get disability compensation or benefits at the same level as a Veteran who has a 100% disability rating. You may be eligible for disability benefits if you meet both requirements listed below. Both of these must be true:


  • You have at least one service-connected disability rated at 60% or more disabling, or two or more service-connected disabilities—with at least one rated at 40% or more disabling and a combined rating of 70% or more—and You can’t hold down a steady job that supports you financially (known as substantially gainful employment) because of your service-connected disability. Odd jobs (marginal employment) don’t count.

Advocates Notes:

You should also know that you have up to a year from the date of your application to turn in any evidence. If you start your application and need time to gather more supporting documents, the VA will recognize the date you started (intent to file VA 21-0966) your application as your date of claim as long as you complete it within 365 days.

The VA Disability Advocates Main Office is Located in Las Vegas, NV. We Represent Veterans throughout the United States. 702-209-5722