VA Disability Back Pay
VA Disability Back Pay is an important benefit for veterans. The VA Disability Process can take quite a lot of time. Because of this, Disabled Veterans are, unfortunately, left to wait for the VA Disability Benefits they are already eligible to receive.
VA Disability Back Pay
To make up for the time between the VA’s Rating Decision and the veteran’s date of eligibility, the VA instituted VA Disability Back Pay.
VA Disability Back Pay is a payment of all the money that the veteran should have been receiving for the months in between their date of eligibility and their VA rating decision.
A veteran’s date of eligibility for VA Disability Back Pay is determined in one of two ways.
First, if the veteran submits a VA Disability Claim within one year of their date of separation, their date of eligibility for VA Disability Back Pay is the date of separation.
Second, if the veteran submits a VA Disability Claim after this 1-year period, then their date of eligibility for VA Disability Back Pay is the first day of the month after the VA receives the claim.
It’s important to get your VA Disability Claim submitted as soon after discharge from the military as possible. If the claim is not submitted within 1 year of discharge, all the VA Disability Back Pay that could have been received between the date of application and the date of separation will be lost.
For example, Ben applies for VA Disability 9 months after he separated from the military. This is within the 1-year mark, so his date of eligibility for VA Disability Back Pay is his date of separation. It takes another 9 months before the VA’s Rating Decision is reached. Ben will receive VA Disability Back Pay for the entire 18 months between his date of separation and the VA’s rating decision.
If, however, Ben submits his VA Disability Claim 13 months after he separates, and the VA takes 16 months (unfortunately not unusual) to reach their Rating Decision, he will only receive 16 months of VA Disability Back Pay. The additional 13 months of VA Disability Back Pay he could have received had he submitted his claim one month earlier is lost.
VA Disability Back Pay is usually paid in one single payment, however, different Regional VA’s could choose to pay it in payments instead.
Depending on the length of time it takes for the VA to come to their rating decision, the VA Disability Back Pay a veteran receives could be fairly substantial.
VA Disability Back Pay for Law Changes
The only other time VA Disability Back Pay is given is when Congress changes the laws that govern VA Disability. The amount of VA Disability Benefits a veteran receives is determined by the VA Disability Rating given by the VA. The Rating Authorities use the laws of the VASRD to decide these ratings. When the VASRD changes, these ratings, and thus the amount of VA Disability the veteran should receive, also change.
For example, let’s say Congress passes a law that changes the rating of a particular condition from 20% to 30%. The law also states that the change should affect all ratings of that condition from 2009 on. The VA would then give all the veterans with this condition VA Disability Back Pay to make up for the extra 10% the law says they should have been receiving for this condition since 2009.
The exact rate of this VA Disability Back Pay will not be the total the condition should receive at 30%, but the difference between the 20% amount and the 30% amount. So if the veterans received $100/month for the 20% rating but should have received $150/month for the 30% rating, the VA Disability Back Pay will be $50/month (150 – 100 = 50) times the number of months the change applies.
Changes in law like this do not happen very often, but they do happen every now and then. Luckily, the VA will automatically process your VA Disability Back Pay if a law is changed. You don’t have to do anything to receive your VA Disability Back Pay in these situations.
What is VA Disability Back Pay?
Veterans qualify for disability benefits before their claims are processed, but won't start receiving the benefits until after they are fully processed. The VA pays Back Pay for the period of time when the veteran qualified to receive benefits to the time the benefits begin.
Do I qualify for Back Pay?
All veterans qualify for back pay to cover the period while their claim or appeal is processing. There are certain special cases we discuss in detail on this page that may qualify you for additional back pay.
How does the VA pay Back Pay?
Once your claim is fully processed, the VA will start your monthly payments. In addition, they'll issue your back pay. Most Regional VA's issue a single payment with the full amount of the back pay, but others will include it in your first few payments or issue separate monthly payments for it.
How long does it take receive my back pay?
The VA usually issues the back pay check within 3 months after the claim is finalized.
It's been more than 3 months, what do I do?
You can check on the status of your back pay by calling your Regional VA office.
How much money will I get for my back pay?
You will receive the total amount you should have been receiving for the months between your date of eligibility and the first check you receive from the VA.
What is my date of eligibility?
If you are submitting your claim within 1 year of your discharge date, then your date of eligibility is the same as your discharge date. If you submitted after the one-year mark, then your date of eligibility is usually the first day of the month after your claim is submitted. It is usually the same as the effective date of your condition ratings that can be found on your Rating Decision.
Can I receive Back Pay for a rating increase?
Yes, once you submit your claim for an increased evaluation, you'll qualify for back pay for the amount of the increase.