The purpose of this article is to explain the 8-step VA claim process in detail and provide veterans with some tips on what happens after you’ve filed a VA disability compensation claim for VA benefits.
At VA Claims Insider, a lot of Veterans want to know, “Brian, what happens after I’ve filed my VA claim?” as well as “How long does it take to get a VA rating decision?”
In general, the Veteran Service Representative (VSR) and Rating Veteran Service Representative (RVSR) will follow an 8-step VA claim process with your VA disability claim.
[NEW as of January 2022] If you file a Fully Developed Claim online at VA.gov, you can expect to get a VA rating decision in about 108 calendar days from beginning to end.
Table of Contents
- [NEW as of January 2022] If you file a Fully Developed Claim online at VA.gov, you can expect to get a VA rating decision in about 108 calendar days from beginning to end.
- STEP #1: VA Claim Submitted and Received Phase (Claim Received)
- STEP #2: VA Initial Review Phase (Under Review)
- STEP #3: VA Gathering of Evidence Phase (Gathering of Evidence)
- STEP #4: VA Review of Evidence Phase (Review of Evidence)
- STEP #5: VA Preparation for Decision Phase (Preparation for Decision)
- STEP #6: Pending Decision Approval Phase (Pending Decision Approval)
- Step #7: Preparation for Notification Phase (Preparation for Notification)
- Step #8: Decision Notification Sent Phase (Decision Notification Sent)
WATCH: The VA Disability Claim Process Explained (Video Tutorial)
The VA Claim Process: How Long Does a VA Claim Take in 2022?
If you submit a Fully Developed Claim (FDC) online at VA.gov, which I highly recommend, you’ll likely get a VA rating decision in around 90-120 days from start to finish.
Why submit a Fully Developed Claim versus a Standard Claim?
With the VA’s Fully Developed Claims program, your VA claim will be decided faster and more accurately becauseYOUmaintain control.
Wondering how to increase your VA rating and get a faster more accurate VA rating decision? Read this high-value blog post.
VA Claim Status Process Timelines
If you’re wondering “how long does a VA claim take,” this VA claim status process list with timelines is a great place to start.
As of January 2022, the average Fully Developed Claim took 108.6 days to complete and issue the veteran a VA rating decision while the average Standard Claim took 134.2 days.
Steps in the VA Disability Claim Process (Timelines After Claim Submission)
- STEP #1: Claim Received: Normally takes between 7 and 14 days
- STEP #2: Under Review: This step typically takes 7 to 21 days
- STEP #3: Gathering of Evidence: This step is the longest phase in the VA claim process and usually takes 30-60 days
- STEP #4: Review of Evidence: Takes 7 to 14 days on average
- STEP #5: Preparation for Decision: This step typically takes 7-14 days to complete
- STEP #6: Pending Decision Approval: 7 to 14 days
- STEP #7: Preparation for Notification: 7 to 14 days
- STEP #8: Decision Notification Sent: The final step in the VA claim process takes 7-10 days
If you submit a Fully Developed Claim (FDC), which we highly recommend at VA Claims Insider, you’ll likely get a VA rating decision in around 90-120 days from start to finish.
And the best news?
The VA is getting faster–a lot faster.
Average VA Disability Claim Processing Time in 2022
- As of January 2022, the average Fully Developed Claim took 108.6 days to complete from start to finish whereas the average Standard Claim took 134.2 days.
- As of November 2021, the average Fully Developed Claim took 107.4 days to complete and issue the veteran a VA rating decision while the average Standard Claim took 129.4 days.
- As of March 2021, the average Fully Developed Claim (FDC) took 118.4 days from start to finish. COVID has caused some delays. The VA is also updating various DBQs and has delayed some C&P exams.
- As of December 2020, the average Fully Developed Claim (FDC) took 117.8 days from start to finish. There has been some delays due to COVID-19.
- As of July 2020, it took the VA an average of 93.6 days to complete a VA claim. There has been a slight slowdown in VA claims processing due to COVID-19.
- As of March 2020, it took the VA an average of 79.9 days to complete a VA disability claim from start to finish.
- In October 2019, it took the VA an average of 94.3 days to complete disability related compensation claims.
- In October 2018, one year earlier, the average VA claim took 141.2 days from start to finish.
- This means VA claim adjudicators shaved an average of 46.9 days OFF the total VA claim processing time in one year!
Do NOT submit a Standard Claim unless you have to…
If you need help with your VA disability claim, VA disability increase claim, secondary VA claims, service connection, you’ve been denied VA benefits, or you think you deserve a higher VA disability rating, please complete the free 3-step intake below.
==> VA Claims Insider Elite: www.vaclaimsinsiderelite.com
STEP #1: VA Claim Submitted and Received Phase (Claim Received)
In Step 1, the VA will let you know they’ve received your disability claim.
If you file your disability claim online, you’ll get an on-screen message from the VA after you submit the online application.
If you mail your application, the VA will send you a letter to let you know they’ve received your claim.
You should get this letter in 1-2 weeks. It should show-up in eBenefits within 7-14 days.
Any questions, please call the VA hotline phone number at 1-800-827-1000 and speak to a VA representative.
This step normally takes around 7-14 days.
STEP #2: VA Initial Review Phase (Under Review)
In Step 2 of the VA claim process, a Veteran Service Representative (VSR) will review your claim.
It’ll move to Step 3 if the VA doesn’t need any more evidence to support it.
This is unlikely unless you submit a Fully Developed Claim, which is highly recommended.
Do NOT submit a standard claim…unless you have to.
This step normally takes around 7-21 business days.
STEP #3: VA Gathering of Evidence Phase (Gathering of Evidence)
In Step 3, the VSR will do three things:
- Ask for evidence from you, health care providers, governmental agencies, or others
- Review the evidence
- Move the claim to an RVSR for decision
****If the VA needs more evidence during this phase, your claim may return to this step more than once. This is very common to see your VA claim move back and forth between phases. No need to worry!
This step normally takes around 30-60 business days.
STEP #4: VA Review of Evidence Phase (Review of Evidence)
In Step 4, all required evidence has been received and is now being reviewed by the VSR assigned to your claim.
If upon further review it is determined that additional evidence is required the claim will be sent back to Step 3.
Don’t worry! This is a very normal part of the VA claim process.
This step typically takes around 7-14 business days.
STEP #5: VA Preparation for Decision Phase (Preparation for Decision)
In Step 5 of the VA claim process, your entire VA disability claim file gets sent to the RVSR.
The RVSR will review your entire claim application, medical records, supporting documents, personal statements, buddy letters, any other supporting information, and results to make a decision on your VA disability claim.
The RVSR then recommends a decision and begins the process of preparing the necessary documents to detail the decision they have made.
This step normally takes 7-14 business days.
STEP #6: Pending Decision Approval Phase (Pending Decision Approval)
In Step 6, the RVSR’s decision recommendation documents are reviewed, and a final award approval on your claim is made.
Usually sent to a second tier reviewing authority for final approval.
This step typically takes 7-14 business days.
Step #7: Preparation for Notification Phase (Preparation for Notification)
Your VA Disability Claim decision packet, in its entirety, is now prepared to be mailed to you.
This step usually takes around 7-14 business days.
Step #8: Decision Notification Sent Phase (Decision Notification Sent)
The final step of the VA claim process is where the VA will send you a packet by U.S. mail that includes details of the decision on your claim.
You should receive this in 7 to 10 business days.
You can always call 1-800-827-1000 and ask to speak to a VA representative about your VA disability claim status.
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About the Author
Founder & CEO
Brian Reeseis a VA benefits expert, author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller You Deserve It: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Veteran Benefits You’ve Earned, andfounder of VA Claims Insider–“The Most Trusted Name in Education-Based Resources for Veterans.”
His frustration with the8-step VA disability claims processled him to create“VA Claims Insider,”which provides U.S. military veterans with tips, strategies, and lessons learned for successfully submitting or re-submitting a winning VA disability compensation claim.
Brian isalso the CEOofMilitary Disability Made Easy, which is the world’s largest free searchable database for all things related to DoD disability and VA disability claims and has served more than 4,600,000 military members and veterans since its founding in 2013.
His eBook, the“9 Secrets Strategies for Winning Your VA Disability Claim”has been downloaded more than 300,000 times in the past three years and is the #1 rated free VA disability claims guide for veterans.
He is aformer active duty Air Force officerwith extensive experience leading hundreds of individuals and multi-functional teams in challenging international environments, including a combat tour to Afghanistan in 2011 supporting Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.
Brian is a Distinguished Graduate of Management from theUnited States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO and he holds an MBA from Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business, Stillwater, OK, where he was a National Honor Scholar (Top 1% of Graduate School class).
We'll let you know when we receive your VA disability claim. If you file your claim online, you'll get an on-screen message from us after you submit the form. If you mail your application, we'll send you a letter to let you know we have your claim.How long does each step of VA claim take? ›
As of June 2021, the average time it takes for the VA to issue a decision on VA benefits is 134.4 days. If your application is denied and you want to complete the appeals process, it will take approximately 125 days for a Supplemental Claim or Higher-Level Review and more than one year for a Board Hearing.How long does VA preparation for decision take 2022? ›
In 2022, you can expect to receive a VA rating decision within 4 to 6 weeks after your last C&P exam. If it's been longer than 6 weeks, pick up the phone, call the VA hotline, and ask to speak to a VA representative at 1-800-827-1000.How do I know if my VA claim will be approved? ›
- Check your status, or.
- Contact your nearest VA regional office, or.
- Call us at 800-827-1000, or.
- Contact us online through Ask VA.
It should show-up in eBenefits within 7-14 days. Any questions, please call the VA hotline phone number at 1-800-827-1000 and speak to a VA representative. This step normally takes around 7-14 days.How long after approved for disability do you get your money? ›
Generally, if your application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is approved, you must wait five months before you can receive your first SSDI benefit payment. This means you would receive your first payment in the sixth full month after the date we find that your disability began.How long does it take for VA to approve pending decision? ›
Generally, you can expect to receive a VA rating decision within 30 business days of the Preparation for Decision phase.What does VA pending decision approval mean? ›
Pending Decision Approval: The VA representative's decision is reviewed, and a final award approval is made. (During the approval process, it might be decided that more evidence is needed, and your claim moves back to Step 3.)Can I see my VA decision letter online? ›
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The VA typically only pays disability compensation going back to the date of discharge to veterans who apply for their VA disability benefits within one year of being discharged. All of this underscores the need to submit your VA disability benefits claim as soon as possible.
A VA Rating Decision Letter is the first decision you will receive after filing a claim for service-connected compensation. The VA Rating Decision Letter will inform you that VA has reviewed your case and determined whether your claimed conditions are related to service.How long does it take to get a decision letter from the VA? ›
If you don't receive your letter within 10 days, please call us at 800-827-1000 (TTY: 711).What happens in preparation for decision phase? ›
Preparation for Decision: A decision will be recommended. Your claim may be sent back to Step 3: Gathering of Evidence if there is not enough medical evidence to make a decision. Pending Decision Approval: The recommended decision will be reviewed, and a final award will be made.How long does it take to get an offer letter from the VA? ›
Application processing can take up to 60 days, and in some cases, up to 120 days. Since hiring decisions are made locally, you will need to call the VA facility where you submitted your application.What are the easiest VA claims to get approved? ›
- Mental Health Conditions. Mental health conditions like PTSD, anxiety, depression, and somatic disorder are considered high-value claims. ...
- Scars. ...
- Musculoskeletal Conditions. ...
- Presumptive Disorders. ...
|Payment month||Payment date|
|November 2022||Thursday, Dec. 1|
|December 2022||Friday, Dec. 30|
|January 2023||Wednesday, Feb. 1|
|February 2023||Wednesday, March 1|
The VA currently claims an average time of 149.4 days (around five months, in case you don't have a calculator handy) from claim filing to decision, but it often takes longer than that.What is the average VA rating for depression? ›
Depression VA Ratings depend on the severity of a veteran's mental health symptoms, meaning, the more severe your symptoms, the higher the VA rating for Depression. The average VA Rating for Depression is currently at 70%, but veterans can be rated from 0% to 100% with breaks at 10%, 30%, 50%, 70%.What does preparation for decision mean on Ebenefits? ›
Preparation for a Decision) The RVSR decides your claim and makes a final award approval decision after reviewing all evidence in your record, including the initial application, examination reports, and service treatment records. ( Pending Decision Approval)Does everyone get back pay for disability? ›
SSI disability benefits accrue from the date that you filed your application. Even though you may have been subsisting on very limited resources for months, you will not always receive your Back Pay immediately after your case is approved.
You can usually expect your back pay and first monthly check to start 30-90 days after the award letter. As far as insurance is concerned, if you were approved for SSI, you will receive If approved for SSI, will receive Medicaid benefits automatically depending on the state you live in.What is a fully favorable decision letter? ›
Fully Favorable Decision
If your Notice of Decision letter is fully favorable, it means that the judge has found you disabled – and that the judge agrees that the alleged onset date (AOD) listed on your claim is the date your disability began.
All SSDI claims are subject to a waiting period for benefits. The earliest payments can start is five months from the date that Social Security determines your disability began, based on the medical evidence you provide.Does preparation for decision mean denied? ›
At this stage, the VA has received enough evidence to make a determination, but has not yet made a recommendation in your case. Preparation for the decision. This means that your VSR has made a decision, but is still preparing a detailed letter outlining the reasons for the decision. Approval of the decision.Are VA loans automatically approved? ›
There are two ways a lender may process VA home loans: "prior approval" or "automatic." When the loan is processed on a prior approval basis, the lender takes your application, requests VA to appraise the property, and verifies your income and credit record.How long does VA underwriting take? ›
When you apply for this type of mortgage, the underwriter will make sure that your application meets both the lender's standards as well as the requirements created by the VA. Part of this will include verifying that you meet the service requirements for VA loan eligibility. On average, VA loans take 57 days to close.How can I speed up my VA decision? ›
Veterans can file a Priority Processing Request using VA Form 20-10207 to ask VA to address their claim in a more expedient manner. In order to be eligible, veterans must submit documentation, if not already on file, indicating that they meet one of the following criteria: Experiencing extreme financial hardship.What will cause VA loan to get disapproved? ›
The most common reason why VA home loan applications get denied is because of errors on the application itself. Lenders can't issue loans unless they're sure that your personal and financial details are correct. Before you submit your application, take the time to review each statement you make and numbers you enter.What does decision made pending mean? ›
pending decision means that an application for planning permission or permission in principle has been made or is deemed to have been made and has not been finally disposed of; Sample 1. pending decision .What does a VA award letter look like? ›
A VA award letter will typically begin with VA stating, “we made a decision on your claim for disability benefits.” The letter will then guide the veteran through the details surrounding the decision and include information regarding the next steps a veteran may take now that a decision has been issued.
Importantly, even if your claim is denied, the VA will include favorable findings identified in this decision. These favorable findings could show that you do in fact have a diagnosis for the injury or illness for which you applied.How do I know if I will get back pay from VA disability? ›
The VA calculates VA disability back pay based on your disability effective date, not on your application or approval date. You may also receive back pay if the VA approves your previously denied claim after a review or an appeal.What day does VA pay back pay? ›
Disability payment benefits for a particular month are paid the first business day of the following month. When the first business day of the month falls on a non-business day or a holiday, VA benefits will be paid on the last business day of the preceding month.Do I get back pay if my VA rating goes up? ›
We date back increases in the disability rating to the earliest date when you can show there was an increase in disability. This is only if we get the new claim request within one year from that date. Otherwise, the effective date is the date we get the claim.What does it mean when your VA claim is in the decision phase? ›
Your claim is considered “decision-ready” if you provide all relevant medical records and supporting evidence when you submit your claim, including federal records and VA claim exam results provided on Disability Benefits Questionnaires (DBQs).Does the VA send paper checks? ›
You can choose to get your VA pension payments, disability compensation, and education payments through direct deposit. If you switch from getting paper checks to receiving your payment through direct deposit, you'll get your payments faster because you won't be waiting for your check to arrive by mail.How many stages are in a VA claim? ›
Generally, there are eight steps that disability claims follow: Claim Received. Your claim is moved to this stage once it has been received by VA.How long is the decision phase VA compensation? ›
The VA estimates that it takes them 94 days to review a VA disability application. However, many cases take much longer than that. Here are some factors that can shorten or extend the time it takes to reach a decision: Type of claim filed.What is VA Priority Group 8? ›
Priority Group 8: Veterans with income and/or net worth above the VA national income threshold and the geographic income threshold who agree to pay co-pays.