When Is My Disability Claim Effective Date?

Once the VA determines that you are service-connected for a disability, the VA must then assign your disability claim effective date. The disability claim effective date is very important because it determines the date at which you begin to receive VA pay.

A veteran files a claim and usually receives a decision months (if not years) later, at which time the veteran has the opportunity to appeal that decision, which may extend the claim by even more months or years. The effective date can be the date that the veteran filed the claim or the date that the veteran became entitled to compensation, whichever is later. At Berry Law Firm, when we review a service-connected veteran’s file, we not only look at the disability rating but also the effective date. And in many instances, we find that the VA assigned the wrong effective date, which can cost a veteran thousands of dollars.

Here are the most common types of claims and how effective dates are assigned to them:

Direct Service Connection

  • Generally, an effective date for a disability that is directly linked to an injury or disease that was incurred or aggravated by military service is the date the VA receives a claim or the date entitlement arose, whichever is later. The date entitlement arose means the date the condition was shown to exist by medical evidence.
  • There is an exception in cases where a claim is filed within one year of separation from active military service. For these claims, the effective date will be the day following separation.

Presumptive Service Connection

  • Generally, an effective date for a disability that is presumed to be related to military service is the date entitlement arose if the claim is received by VA within one year of release from active duty. If the claim is received by VA after one year of release from active duty, the effective date is the date of receipt of the claim or the date entitlement arose, whichever is later.

Reopened Claims

  • Normally, the effective date for a reopened claim is the date of receipt of claim or date entitlement arose, whichever is later.

Law Change

  • If there is a change in law or VA regulation that allows for the VA to pay disability compensation, the effective date may be assigned in the following ways:
    • If a claim is reviewed on the initiative of the VA within 1 year from the effective date of the law or VA regulation or the request of a claimant is received within 1 year from the date of the new law or regulation, the effective date may be the date of the change in law or regulation.
    • If more than one year has elapsed since the change in law or regulation, an effective date of one year prior to either the VA’s own review or one year prior to the claimant’s request for review may be assigned as the effective date.

Veterans Serving Veterans

Are you receiving the veterans’ disability compensation you are entitled to receive by law? If you need assistance appealing VA Rating Decisions for mental health conditions or physical disabilities that occurred in service, please contact Berry Law Firm.

Click here to schedule a time to talk to a member of our team to determine if we can help you with your VA appeal.