How to Apply for VA Disability Compensation

If you are planning to apply for VA disability benefits, you should first determine the documents you need to successfully complete the process and the methods available to you.

The United States Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) encourages potential disability compensation applicants to complete the process online and submit as much evidence as possible with the initial claim. This prevents delays and allows the department to begin determining eligibility and potential monthly disability compensation.

If you are wondering how to apply for VA disability compensation, it is important to first choose your application method. You can use the VA website to submit your application, visit a local office or you can mail or fax the claim in to the department. Keep in mind that faxing or mailing may lengthen the processing time needed for your claim. You can also receive professional help with veterans disability claims by seeking the assistance of an experienced attorney, Veterans Service Officer (VSO) or another claims agent. To find out more about the potential methods for application, how to seek assistance with your claim and the documents you will need to file, read through the following sections.

Evidence Needed to Apply for VA Disability Benefits

Along with a VA disability application, the Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits, you must submit documents that provide evidence of your eligibility. To meet eligibility for disability compensation, you must have served in the armed forces and you must currently have a disability that was directly related to your service. Therefore, you must provide the proper proof that confirms both your disability and your service. Whether you apply online, by fax, by mail or in person, the VA asks for you to provide the following with your application:

  • Private medical records of treatments, if applicable.
  • A list of all medical records available through a VA hospital or treatment center.
  • Information on how to obtain your National Guard and Reserve service treatment records, if applicable.

When filing a VA disability claim, you may also find that you qualify as one of the “special circumstances” listed on the application. If one of these circumstances applies to you, you may be required to submit additional documentation. The evidence you may be required to submit could include the following:

  • A completed VA Form 21-4142, if you were treated at a Veterans’ Center.
  • A completed VA Form 21-686c, Declaration of Status of Dependents, if you are claiming dependents.
  • A completed VA Form 21-674, Request for Approval of School Attendance, if you are claiming a dependent in the household who is in school full-time and between 18 and 23 years old.
  • A completed VA Form 21-8940, Veteran’s Application for Increased Compensation Based on Unemployability, if you are claiming individual unemployability.
  • A completed VA Form 21-0781, Statement in Support of Claim for Service Connection for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, if you are filing for VA disability due to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
  • A completed VA Form 21-0781a, Statement in Support of Claim for Service Connection for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Secondary to Personal Assault, if you are claiming PTSD due to a personal assault.
  • A completed VA Form 26-4555, Application in Acquiring Specially Adapted Housing or Special Home Adaptation Grant, if you are claiming a need for specially adapted housing.
  • A completed VA Form 21-4502, Application for Automobile or Other Conveyance and Adaptive Equipment, if you are claiming an auto allowance.
  • A completed VA Form 21-2680, Examination for Housebound Status or Permanent Need for Regular Aid and Attendance, if you or a spouse are claiming the need for aid and attendance.
  • A completed VA Form 21-0779, Request for Nursing Home Information in Connection with Claim for Aid and Attendance, if you or a spouse are claiming aid and attendance for nursing home care.

If you want to apply for VA disability quickly, but do not have any documentation or evidence available, you can still complete and submit the application to the VA. The department needs enough medical and service information to investigate the claim for you and potentially pull your records for review. Keep in mind, without providing evidence to the VA, your VA disability claim status may be pending for a longer period of time. If you have access to any records and documentation, you should submit it with your claim if possible.

Finding Veteran Disability Claims Assistance

If you are submitting a regular VA disability application, you are not required to seek representation or assistance. However, you may choose to ask for help with the application process from an accredited attorney, VSO or claims agent. Finding help from a professional can be helpful, especially if you qualify for special monthly compensation from the VA.

Related Link: VA Disability Ratings and Compensation Rates

If you want help filing a VA disability application, ensure that the professional you seek assistance from is accredited in VA benefits. You can also call the VA at 1-800-827-1000 or visit your local VA office for assistance with filing a claim.

Completing the VA Disability Application Online

Most potential beneficiaries apply for VA disability online, since it is simple and convenient. To complete the application process, you must:

  1. Visit the VA website.
  2. Create an online account.
  3. File a new disability claim.
  4. Submit your evidence and documentation online.
  5. Click “Submit.”
  6. Check the status of your claim online at any time.

If you are able to upload documentation along with your VA disability application online, you have filed a Fully Developed Claim (FDC). These types of claims are generally processed faster because VA representatives have most of the information they need to determine eligibility. If you do not upload any evidence when filing a disability VA claim, the VA representative may need to contact you for more information and investigate your service history and condition further. This can delay your approval process.

Filing a VA Disability Claim by Mail or Fax

If you are wondering how to apply for VA disability by mail or fax, keep in mind that you must first download and print the application from the VA website. You can also stop by a local VA office to obtain a copy of this form. Once you have completed the form, gather additional documentation and evidence and mail all items to:

Department of Veterans Affairs
Claims Intake Center
PO Box 4444
Janesville, WI 53547-4444

If you want to file a VA disability claim by fax, you must be able to scan these evidential documents to fax along with your application. These can be faxed to 844-531-7818 inside the United States or 248-524-4260 outside of the U.S.

Filing for VA Disability in Person

To file veterans disability claims in person, you must stop by a local VA office. You should visit the office during regular business hours and come prepared with your completed application and necessary documentation. However, if you need assistance completing the application, a VA representative can help you during your visit.

Related Link: Aid and Attendance and Housebound 

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