How to Notify VA of Your Intent to File a Claim

How to Notify VA of Your Intent to File a Claim

Posted On: Nov 13, 2023

Do you need guidance understanding the VA claims process as a veteran? Whatever it is, we've got you covered.  The VA will be alerted to your filing intentions when you begin your online disability application or Supplemental Claim.

It pertains to VA disability benefits and specifies a prospective start date for your payments. There is no need for a separate "intent to file" form. In this article, we'll help you through the crucial first step: alerting the VA of your intent to file a claim.

Note: In the case of online applications for pension or Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) benefits, this automatic intent to submit does not apply.

Why Notify?

First, let's dive into the "why" and then go on to the "how." You must notify the VA of your decision to submit a claim. It describes when you can expect to receive the benefits and guarantees you will get the help you need.

You may set a possible effective date for your benefits by declaring your intent to file. In some instances, you may get compensation for the time between when you filed your intent to file and when your claim was granted by contacting the VA.

  • Gather Your Information: Start by gathering all relevant information. A complete information collection helps process anything from service records to medical documentation.
  • Choose Your Notification Method: The VA allows you to inform them of your intent to file a claim in various ways. Use the one that works best for you:
    • Online through eBenefits: The Veterans Administration (VA) has an online interface called eBenefits that is supposed to make filing for benefits easier. Sign in, choose "Apply for Benefits," and then proceed with the on-screen instructions to inform the VA of your decision.
    • Mail or In-Person: Do you prefer the traditional route? To begin filing a claim for compensation, pension, or DIC benefits, veterans may access VA Form 21-0966, Intent to File a Claim. Please complete this form and return it to your local VA office by mail or in person.
  • Be Time-Conscious: Timing is essential. You must notify the VA of your intent to claim within a year. It ensures that your benefits get returned to you as soon as possible.
  • Seek Assistance if Needed: Don't hesitate to seek assistance: Help in informing the VA and navigating the claims process is available from Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs) and certified agents.

You can use an intent to file for the following types of benefits:

  • Disability compensation
  • Pension benefits
  • Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)

Benefits of Early Notification

The VA benefits from a quick notification. Your eligibility for benefits will be safeguarded as of the date of the notice, even if you complete your entire claim later. It may significantly impact the amount of compensation you are paid.

Time Limit to File Your Claim

Once you notify the VA of your intent to file, you have a one-year window to complete and file your claim for benefits. This allows you ample time to gather the necessary documentation and information before proceeding with your claim.