Expediting VA Disability Compensation Claims

VA Wait Times

What is the secret to expediting VA disability compensation claims? Anyone who has ever dealt with the VA knows that they do not do anything quickly, and decisions usually take at least a year if not longer. Take a look at how bad the VA’s timing really is (national averages):

VA Wait Times - Expediting VA Disability Compensation Claims

VA Backlog

When the VA brags about reducing the claims backlog, they are only telling half the story. During the period from January 2015 to May 2016, the VA reduced the number of pending claims by 171,000. During that same time period, however, appeals increased by 39,000.  Currently, there are almost the same number of claims pending as there are appeals pending: the numbers are 349,000 total claims, and over 327,000 appeals. Sounds like a shell game to me…

VA Shell Game - Expediting VA Disability Compensation Claims

Now I need to tell you that I cannot promise to get any claim or appeal approved faster than anyone else, and it is actually against the law to do so. Don’t ever believe them if someone tells you that they can get your claim approved quicker.

Expediting VA Disability Compensation Claims

There are, however, certain situations where you can ask the VA to expedite a VA disability compensation claim or appeal. For claims at the regional office level, a claim can be expedited in the following circumstances:

  • Former Prisoner of War
  • Homeless
  • Extreme Financial Hardship (need to show an eviction notice or a petition for bankruptcy)
  • Terminally Ill (life expectancy of 6 months)
  • More than 85 years old
  • Received the Medal of Honor

If the appeal is at the Board of Veterans Appeals in Washington DC, you can request that the appeal be expedited if:

  • You are age 75 or older
  • Terminally ill
  • Extreme Financial Hardship

For initial disability compensation applications, the claim will be decided much quicker if you submit what is called a “Fully Developed Claim.” This is when you submit all of the necessary documentation with the claim such as Service Treatment Records (STRs) and medical records, and the VA will decide the claim based on the information that was submitted. You can always submit additional evidence at any time before a decision is made.