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How Is a VA Disability Effective Date Calculated?

Tucker Law Group
October 18, 2019

When the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) makes a determination to grant a compensation award based on a claim, an effective date is also assigned. The VA effective date determines when your benefits begin to be payable.

Keep in mind that effective dates vary based on the circumstances surrounding your claim. If you have questions about your effective date, please contact our VA disability attorneys to discuss your situation.

Effective Dates Based on Your Claim

Below, we list a few common types of cases and how the VA assigns effective dates for each type.

Direct Service Connection

If the VA recognizes that military service directly caused or worsened your disability, then you may have a direct service connection case. The effective date for direct service connection is generally whichever of the following dates comes later:

  • The date the VA receives your claim;
  • Or the date your entitlement arose.

The date that medical evidence proves your condition exists is the date your “entitlement arose.” For example, you may have been entitled to benefits in 2011, but if you did not file your claim until 2019, your effective date will be in 2019.

However, there are exceptions to these effective dates. If you file your claim within one year of separation from active military service, then your effective date is the day after separation.

Presumptive Service Connection

Presumptive service connection means that the VA believes that your disability is related to your military service. The effective date for presumptive service connection depends on when the VA receives your claim.

If the VA receives your claim within one year of your separation from active military service, then the effective date is the date your entitlement arose. If the VA receives your claim after one year, then the effective date is the date they receive your claim or the date your entitlement arose, whichever date is later.

Reopened Claims / Supplemental Claims

Generally, the VA effective date for a reopened claim is the date that your request to reopen or supplemental claim is filed or the date your entitlement arose. The effective date is whichever date occurred latest.

Request for a Disability Increase

Veterans have the right to file for an increased disability rating with the VA. If the VA receives your request within one year of the original rating decision, your effective date pays back to the original claim date. If more than a year has passed, then the effective date is the date the VA receives your appeal.

Please note that these are only a few common ways that your effective date is assigned. Changes in law and VA errors are two other ways the VA determines the effective date.

Do You Have Questions About Your VA Effective Date?

You can find more information about effective dates on the VA website. It is here you can see how the VA explains when benefit payments become effective depending on the type of case.

If you believe your VA effective date is wrong, contact our VA disability lawyers at Tucker Law Group to discuss your situation. You can call us at (866) 233-5044 to schedule a free consultation. You can also fill out our online contact form and we will be in touch with you soon.