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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Military Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 27142
Experience:  Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.
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How long does it take for the VA to make a disability decision? In

Resolved Question:

How long does it take for the VA to make a disability decision?


In 1966 I was stationed in Vietnam (Danang) and was sent to Japan for a week of training. While in training I injured my back. I took treatment at Iwakuni and also at Danang. The folks at Yokosuka recently told me they no longer have records that old and to check with some other agency they named (that's in process).

When I got out of the Marines I went to the Wadsworth Veterans Hospital in West LA for back pain treatment. After a short while, the doctor wanted to put me in for a disability pension. I declined (ok, as he said "all you Marines are the same you are so f....ing stupid. You'll regret it"). While I don't regret I have recently applied for disability. I should add, I now have diabetes II and high blood pressure which may have been caused by POSSIBLE exposure to Agent Orange.

So, back to the original question "how long for the VA to make a decision" plus anything else you'd like to add.

Thank you!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Military Law
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the chance to help. I am an attorney with over 12 years military law experience and serve as a Veterans Services Officer.

That is a good question.

How long does the VA take?

The answer is "it depends"

It depends on many different factors. I will cover them below.

But the first thing to understand is what the VA itself says. The VA states that it takes between 8 and 18 months for a rating decision for compensation.

So that is the benchmark.

Now, factors that impact this are many.

THe man factor is how well the claim is organized.

You can file a claim with just the VA FOrm 21-526...

But if your VSO is good, they will put the claim together on a Form 21-526ez. This is a "fully developed claim".

It requires more work up front (you have to make sure all the evidence is assembled prior to submission). But if done right you can shave months off the time to process. I have gotten compensation claims done in 2 months with this format.

They key is to make it simple...the folks at the VA who rate claims are on a quota...they must process between 4 and 5 claims a day. If you make your claim simple? They are much more likely to rate it. If it is complex, or missing information? Guess what...it goes to the bottom of the pile.

THe other issue is number of claims...if you submit for one claim, that will process MUCH faster than a claim for 47 (I have seen claims with that many claimed issues)

BotXXXXX XXXXXne: a claim can take a year or more...but if done right, I would expect an answer in less than 6 months.



P. Simmons, Military Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 27142
Experience: Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.
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Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.