I get countless calls every day asking me for assistance with filing initial VA Disability Claims. Filing the initial claim is the easy part. Follow this step by step approach to file your claim on your own.
STEP 1: After logging in to eBenefits navigate to the top left and run your mouse over “Apply” and then down to “Compensation.” Slide over to the right and click on Apply For Disability Compensation.
STEP 2: There will be several introductory questions that will need to be answered. Make sure that all of your personal information is up to date and accurate. At the bottom of the “Basic Information” section, there will be a section to enter your bank account information. I highly recommend filling this portion out, because without it the VA won’t know how to pay you.
STEP 3: After you answer all of your personal information and answer several questions regarding your service, you will eventually navigate your way to the “Disability Records” section. This is the section where you will be able to claim different disabilities. Click “Claim New Disability.”
STEP 4: You can either scroll through the listed disabilities or use the search bar to search for your specific disability. Sometimes if I know I am there to claim only one disability I will use the search bar; however, when I was filing my own claim I scrolled through the disabilities and it helped trigger my memory of “oh yea, I have that too.”
STEP 5: If the disability that you are claiming is related to a specific condition (Agent Orange/Camp LeJeune Contaminated Water/Combat/Personal Trauma) you should indicate that at the bottom of the page before you save and continue.
STEP 6: Repeat steps 3-6 for every disability that you are claiming.
If you are claiming a secondary disability navigate to the claimed disability that is the primary disability. On the right-hand side, you will see “Edit,” “Delete,” “Add Secondary.” Click Add Secondary.
POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER
A claim of PTSD will require a trauma statement. In your statement try to get as descript as possible. Trauma is very personal to the individual. Try to write as much detail (unit, names, dates and times) as possible. If the trauma is too difficult to discuss write a shorter statement, but don’t leave this blank. The VA has certain criteria it has to meet in order to link your PTSD to your service.
Certain disability ratings may qualify an individual for an increased rating based on unemployability. To qualify for Individual Unemployability (IU) you will need to have a single disability rated at 60% or combined disabilities with an overall rating of 70%.
For the quickest processing time on your VA Disability Claim, you need to submit your claim as a Fully Developed Claim (FDC). An FDC is a claim that is submitted to the VA with all supporting documents. In the second to last section of your application, there is a place for you to upload your supporting documents directly to the VA.
FINAL REVIEW AND SUBMISSION
After reviewing all of the information within your application go ahead and submit your claim. The VA does not move with a purpose when it comes to deciding your claim. Just sit back and wait for the VA to call you.