File Your VA Claim

How to file for your VA Claim

For veterans that have never filed, the VA has three programs for disability compensation. Which program you file under will be determined by where you are at in your transition at time of filing.

There are two types of Pre-Discharge programs (BBD & DRC) and one Post-Separation program (FDC)

Benefits Delivery at Discharge(BDD)

Pre- Separation
  • Increases your chances of receiving compensation benefits the day after separation.
  • Must be within 90-180 from separating
  • Allows you to attend VA required exams at your last station of duty.

Decision Ready Claims (DRC)

Pre- Separation
  • Ensures once your claim is approved that you receive back pay to the time of separation.
  • Must be less than 90 days from discharge.
  • Allows you to attend VA required exams at your last station of duty.

Fully Developed Claim (FDC)

Post- Separation
  • If an “intent to file” was submitted before separating, than the veteran may be eligible for back pay to the date of separation.
  • Allows you to file a claim at any time after you separate.
  • File up to 90 days pre-separation but your claim will not begin to process until after you separate.

Intent to File

A step a veteran can take when they know they will not be able to submit a claim under the BDD program timeline of no more of 180 days and no less than 90 days of separation. If the veteran files a claim or an intent to file within 1 year of separation, the effective date can be locked to the day after separation. If not the effective date will be the day the claim is received by the VA. An effective date will establish the date the veteran was eligible to receive benefits.

Filing an Intent to File

There are three ways you can notify VA of your intent to file a claim.

For Intent to File website: Click Here

  • 1

    Go online through eBenefits at Use the support of a VSO through the Stakeholder Enterprise Portal. You must follow this process:

  • 2

    Mail paper VA Form 21-0966, “Intent to File a Claim for Compensation and/or Pension, or Survivors Pension and/or DIC.” You can access this form at: Click Here

  • 3

    Over the phone or in person:

You may also appoint a recognized representative to notify us on your behalf.

Locate a Veteran Service Organization (VSO) to assist you in your claim process:

Apply for Disability Compensation

It's simple to apply. Remember, for faster processing, it is important to have copies of all your Service Treatment Records (STRs) to submit with your claim.