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How long does a VA claim take?

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After you’ve filed for disability benefits, it’s natural to wonder: “How long does a VA claim take?”

The answer depends on whether you’ve submitted a VA Fully Developed Claim (FDC) or a Standard Claim (Non-FDC), as well as a variety of other factors we deep-dive below.

The VA publishes its claims processing timelines, and in general, you can expect to receive a VA rating decision within 90 to 120 calendar days (3-4 months) from beginning to end. At the time of this blog, the published processing time is 102.4 days.

However, VA disability claim decision timelines can vary drastically—from just a few days to two years or more.

There are several factors that can impact how long it takes the VA to process your claim, including:

  • Initial claims typically take longer because a Claims Assistant at the VA must request your Service Treatment Records (STRs) and your personnel file.
  • The total number of disability conditions you’ve filed for. The more conditions you file for, the longer your claim will take for a rating decision.
  • Whether you filed a VA Fully Developed Claim (FDC) or a Standard Claim (Non-FDC). Standard Claims require further development by a Veteran Service Representative (VSR) such as obtaining private treatment records, personnel records, etc.
  • The adequacy and completeness of your medical evidence for VA rating purposes. If the medical evidence isn’t clear, a VSR is required to perform further claim development, which can delay your claim.
  • How soon you are contacted and scheduled for the Compensation and Pension (C&P) exams. Also, some disability conditions require an in-person examination, whereas others can be done virtually via telehealth or via records review only.
  • If your C&P exam results are adequate for rating purposes. For example, if the VA Rater needs to go back to the examiner for their rational or if the examiner failed to complete the DBQ correctly.
  • The VA Claims Backlog can affect how soon a VA Rater gets assigned to your case.
  • If you file a VA claim for PTSD and do NOT have a combat medal, your claim will take longer because the VA must attempt to verify your stressor.
  • If you have submitted a “specialty” VA claim that can only be worked at certain Regional Offices. For example, claims for Burn Pit Exposure, Radiation Exposure, and Contaminated Water.
  • If your claim is picked up for “Quality Review” by the VA. Every Veteran Service Representative (VSR) and Rating Veteran Service Representative (RVSR) has five VA claims per month randomly pulled for a quality review assessment.
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