VA Announces Retroactive Disability Benefits for Fully Developed Claim Filers

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced that veterans filing a "fully developed claim" for service-connected disability compensation may be eligible to up to one year of retroactive disability benefits. Congress has approved retroactive benefits from Aug. 6, 2013 through Aug. 5, 2015, to help encourage fully developed claims and reduce the VA claim backlog.)

To be eligible for a year of retroactive benefits, the claim must be a veteran’s first disability claim, the veteran must have been disabled for a year before applying for disability benefits, and the veteran must file a fully developed claim.

A fully developed claim is one that’s eligible for the VA’s fast track program, meaning that the veteran submits the required medical records and service records necessary for the VA to decide the claim, rather than waiting for the VA to gather the documents on its own. When a veteran submits a fully developed claim, it takes the VA about half the time to process as a regular claim.

To apply with the possibility of getting retroactive benefits, use VA Form 21-526EZ, Fully Developed Claim (Compensation). For more information, see Nolo’s article on the fully developed claim program.