Am I Able To Get Veteran Disability Back Pay?

Can you get veteran disability back pay? Because the VA is notorious for taking a long time to award disability benefits to veterans, you’ll be happy to know that there is a silver lining. And the longer you must wait, the better your chances of getting back pay.

Am I Able To Get Veteran Disability Back Pay?

Veterans who apply and have trouble getting their benefits may wait months and even years before receiving their monthly VA disability payments. This can lead to a one-time lump sum.

What Is Veterans Disability Back Pay?

There is usually a substantial wait between the time veteran applies for disability benefits and the time they begin to receive these benefits. Therefore, the VA generally pays benefits in full that the veteran is due. This can lead to a substantial payment to make up for the months (or years) waiting for the payments to begin.

Commonly called “back pay,” it’s the difference between the effective date and the date of the benefit award. This means that you may receive a lump sum that’s the total amount of money you would have received monthly if you’d been awarded benefits from your effective date.

Defining The Effective Date

The VA pays benefits from what it calls your “effective date,” which is the latter of two dates. These are the date of your application or the date that your service-connected disability either shows up or increases in severity.

For example: If you apply for VA disability benefits on May 1st, and your benefits are approved on December 1, your monthly benefit payments may not start until the following May. This means that you would receive a lump sum equal to the amount you would have been paid from your application date, which was the original May 1st when you applied. This original May 1st is the effective date.

For most claims, the date of your application is the effective date. However, the second date is usually when a veteran decides to file for the first time or to request an increase in their ratings. That’s why the second effective date would not be the original date of the claim filing.

Sometimes, an earlier effective date may be used. These would be for recently discharged veterans, claims for increased ratings, or Agent Orange exposure claims. The reason for that is because Agent Orange exposure is known as a presumptive service-connected condition.

The VA begins the claims process once the effective date is established for the veteran.

How Much Will I Receive?

As with any legal case, it’s impossible to give an exact dollar amount for a veteran’s disability back pay. Every veteran’s case is different, their benefit amounts are different, and they’re based on each individual’s disability rating.

The eventual back pay award will be based on:

• The amount that the veteran will receive monthly once benefits are awarded
• The number of months and/or years that the veteran has been waiting since his or her effective date.
• The differences in the benefit amount for the months or years that the veteran has been waiting, taking into account factors like cost-of-living adjustments.
• Any other special considerations, such as additional monies for aid & attendance, or other allowances.
The longer you have been waiting, the larger your possible back pay will be. As always, veterans’ benefits are tax-free. This includes anything you receive as back pay.

Appeal If You’ve Been Denied

For a handful of reasons, many VA claims are denied at the outset. If this has happened to you, don’t re-apply for VA benefits—file an appeal instead.

If you submit another application, your effective date will change. This means you could lose hundreds and even thousands of dollars in back pay. Using the above example, if your claim is denied in December, and you reapply at that time, your new effective date will be December 1st, not the original May 1st. You will in this example lose six months of potential back pay, if not more.

After a successful review or an appeal, you may also receive back pay.

It’s important to note that all applications for VA disability benefits must be made in writing. If you have had discussions with an attorney, a veterans service officer (VSO), or a VA representative about filing a claim, don’t assume that it has been done for you.

The VA has considerable discrepancies in notifying veterans about the possibility of having a claim. Therefore, it’s up to you to begin the process. The effective date of your award is always on the date of your written claim, and not before. Working with a disability law attorney can make the process easier and make sure that your application is done correctly the first time and that any appeals are handled well.

Herren Law Helps Houston Veterans

Getting veteran’s disability back pay and benefits is a long, arduous process that takes patience as well as understanding the law. William Herren is a disability attorney who has helped more than 4,000 Houstonians get the benefits they deserve, including veterans. Call The Herren Law Firm today at 713-682-8194 (or use our online contact form) to schedule your free consultation. There’s no obligation, and we’ll take your case on a contingency fee basis, with no up-front charges. You don’t owe a fee until we win your case.

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