What is VA Disability Back Pay?

VA disability back pay is the money owed to a veteran from the effective date of their claim to the date they were granted benefits.  The VA uses the term retroactive benefits for back pay. It is a lump sum payment for benefits covering the period from the effective date of the claim until the date that the claim was awarded. Due to the backlog of claims and appeals, the VA can often take months or years to grant benefits causing some retroactive payments to be quite large.

How does the VA decide effective dates?

An effective date is the start date that VA uses to begin payments. The VA grants effective dates based on the later of two dates: the date of the filing of the veteran’s claim, or the date that the disability manifests or increases. The VA does not consider the date of an injury or event as an effective date for those who apply after they have left the service. And they will only grant benefits back to the date of discharge for service members who apply within a year of their military discharge. The effective date is most often the same date that VA received the veteran’s claim.

Is there a way to get an earlier effective date?

Yes, there are a few instances where veterans can be awarded benefits prior to the filing date of their claims. These may include newly discharged veterans, claims with increased disability ratings and Agent Orange exposure claims. The rules can be complicated and our experienced veterans disability lawyers can help you with your claim.

What is a VA disability rating?

The VA makes a determination about the severity of a veteran’s disability based on the evidence submitted as part of the claim, or that VA obtains from their military records. The VA rates disability from 0% to 100% in 10% increments and bases compensation on that rating.

How does the VA calculate back pay?

The amount of retroactive pay a veteran will receive for a disability claim depends on the effective date of the claim and the disability rating assigned from the VA. The higher the rating, the more back pay the VA will owe.  The retroactive benefits are paid in a lump sum.

What happens if a veteran dies while their claim is pending?

A surviving spouse, or in some cases a child or dependent parent, can file a claim for the retroactive benefits that would have been due to the veteran had he or she not died. Retroactive benefits are called accrued benefits after the veteran’s death. If an eligible person files for accrued benefits within one year of the veteran’s death, the VA must make a decision on the claim. If an award results, the survivor will receive a retroactive payment of the benefits that the deceased veteran would have received, in addition to any survivor benefits that they are eligible for.

If you need help determing whether the VA has awarded benefits based on the proper effective date, if your VA claim has been denied, or if you disagree with the decision, we may be able to help. Call (404) 354-5432 to schedule your free consultation with a veterans disability attorney. We will work without end until you have the benefits promised to you.

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