Veterans who have disabilities, medical conditions or injuries incurred or aggravated during active military service — no matter when or where they served — may be eligible to receive tax-free monthly benefits.
Service members may also file a claim for disability benefits up to 180 days before leaving the military. Visit the Pre-Discharge Claim webpage for more information.
To support a claim for service connection, the evidence must show the following:
- You have a current physical or mental disability.
- You had an injury or disease in service or experienced an event in service that caused or aggravated an injury or disease.
- There is a link between your current disability and the event, injury or disease in military service.
If you have any of the following relevant items, you should submit them with your claim:
- Discharge or separation papers (the DD-214 or equivalent).
- Service treatment records and supporting statements.
- Private medical provider records and hospital reports.
VA Application Process
The simplest way to obtain a VA decision on a compensation claim is to submit all supporting documents and evidence together in a Fully Developed Claim (FDC) online at VA.gov or by mail. Typical steps to apply online include:
- Find an accredited attorney, claims agent or Veterans Service Officer (VSO) to assist you with your claim.
- Establish a profile and apply on VA.gov.
- Collect and upload your military, medical and other records.
- Gather private medical records.
- Gather the required evidence for each claimed disability.
- Scan and upload all documents and then click “Submit.”
- Track the status of your claim on VA.gov.
If you want to file a Fully Developed Claim but aren’t quite ready, you can sign in and start a Fully Developed Claim, save your incomplete application, gather your documents and submit your claim up to one year later. Your effective date will be preserved if the claim is submitted within one year.