Some of the best advice a veteran representative or attorney can give to a veteran, who is filing a claim for a new disability or a claim to increase the rating of a current service-connected disability, is to journal. Journaling will (1) help the veteran remember his or her conditions, the severity of his or her conditions, and the limitations his or her conditions set; (2) help the veteran record and remember dates of flare-ups; (3) help the veteran accurately record sleep; (4) help the veteran precisely and efficiently convey this information to his or her primary care provider so that this information makes it into the veteran’s health records; and (5) help the veteran’s representative or attorney better understand the complete picture and look for potentially compensable secondary disabilities.
Most veterans usually start pursuing disability benefits in the presence of strong economic incentives, such as recently losing a job, when retirement does not pay as much as expected, or when healthcare expenses become too burdensome. The danger in waiting to pursue VA Disability Benefits until it is needed is that you will not start receiving your benefits until it is already too late. The two questions most asked by veterans are:
1. How long will it take to start receiving my benefits?
2. How much back pay will I receive?
This article will attempt to answer this second question for the majority of case types.
The amount of back pay or retroactive benefits, awarded to a veteran is dependent upon that particular veteran’s “effective date.” Generally the effective date is either the date that entitlement to the benefit arose, the date the claim was filed or the date a re-open claim was filed, whichever is later. This is true for most new claims and for claims to increase the rating of an already existing service-connected disability. Continue Reading