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eBenefits Access Your VA & DoDo Benefits 24-7 www.ebenefits.va.gov
 

Fully Developed Claims

Claims and Evidence

 

Use DBQs for Faster Service

VA’s Disability Benefits Questionnaires (DBQs) speed the Fully Developed Claims process.

These forms provide medical information that is directly relevant to determining a disability rating and ensure that VA’s ratings specialists have the precise information to assess claims.

Private and VA medical providers are qualified to complete these forms. If you’re filing by mail, ask a VA or private provider to fill out all applicable DBQs (find them by form name or symptom name) and fax or mail them to the regional office.

If you’re filing electronically, gather completed DBQs from your medical providers and upload them through the eBenefits system.

FDC Checklist for Disability Compensation

Make sure your Fully Developed Claim is right the first time by following this checklist, depending on the type of claim you are filing.

Step 1: Log on to eBenefits.va.gov.

  • Click "Apply for Benefits".
  • Click "Apply for Disability Compensation".
  • Start by answering questions about your claim.
  • Hit "Save & Continue" to preserve the date from which VA may be able to pay you if your claim is approved. You have a year from the start date to gather evidence and submit the claim. VA will not process your claim until you hit "Submit".

Step 2: Tell us about your Federal/State records:

  • Tell us if you receive Social Security benefits for a condition you are claiming.
  • Tell us where your military medical records and/or military personnel records (OMPF) are located (If you have copies, submit them).
  • Identify all (if any) relevant medical records held by a Federal agency, such as the Social Security Administration, so that VA may obtain these records for you. Include the date ranges of your medical treatment records for your claimed conditions. You may also submit copies of these records if you have them in your possession.
  • For members of the National Guard or Reserve components, include copies of all relevant treatment and personnel records in the custody of your unit(s).

Step 3: Gather non-Federal records (as applicable):

  • Request and submit copies of relevant private medical treatment records from your private medical provider.
  • If you are claiming a disability as a result of an incident that you believe is not recorded in your military records, then submit statements supporting your claim from you, family, friends, clergy members, law enforcement, or other persons who you may have spoken with or who have knowledge of your claimed medical condition(s) and how/when it occurred.

Step 4: Choose Your Type of Claim:

Original Disability Claim

An original claim is the first claim you file for disability compensation from VA and can be submitted at any time after your discharge from the military. However, you are encouraged to submit your claim as soon as you are able to ensure all available documents are on hand.

Evidence required:

  • Medical evidence of a current physical or mental disability; AND
  • Evidence of an event, injury or disease in service; AND
  • Evidence of a link between your current disability and the event, injury, or disease in military service. Medical records or medical opinions are usually required to establish this relationship.
New Disability Claim

A new claim is a claim for service connection for a disability that has not been filed before.

Evidence Required:

  • Medical evidence of a current physical or mental disability; AND
  • Evidence of an event, injury or disease in service; AND
  • Evidence of a link between your current disability and the event, injury, or disease in military service. Medical records or medical opinions are usually required to establish this relationship.
Reopened Disability Claim

This is a claim already filed that VA could not grant and the decision is over one year old.

Evidence required: To reopen these claims, VA must receive new evidence that has never been considered, which pertains to the issue claimed.

Claim For Increased Disability

This is a claim for an increased evaluation of a disability that VA has already determined to be service-connected.

Evidence Required: Current medical evidence that shows your disability has gotten worse.

Secondary Disability Claim

This is a claim for a disability that developed as a result of or was worsened by a disability which VA has already determined to be service-connected.

Evidence Required: Medical evidence that shows you have a disability that was caused or aggravated by an already established service-connected disability.

There are other special issues where additional forms and evidence may be needed:

Individual Unemployability as determined by VA: In addition to the evidence above, you must also submit:

  • A completed VA Form 21-8940, "Veteran's Application for Increased Compensation Based on Unemployability" (download form),
  • A completed VA Form 21-4192, "Request for Employment Information in Connection with Claim for Disability Benefits" (download form,) completed by your last employer, AND
  • Medical evidence that a service-connected disability prevents you from obtaining or maintaining substantially gainful employment.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: In addition to the evidence above, you must also submit:

  • A completed VA Form 21-0781, "Statement in Support of Claim for Service Connection for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (download form)," OR
  • If claiming PTSD based on personal assault, VA Form 21-0781a, "Statement in Support of Claim for Service Connection for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Secondary to Personal Assault (download form)."

Step 5: Upload the documents:

  • Scan all of the documents. Note that depending on how many documents you have you may need to split them into smaller batches and then upload.
  • Under the "Upload Documents" tab, select "Manage Files".
  • Upload the documents.
  • If you have an appointed Veterans Service Officer, your representative will be able to check your claim and make sure you have all the required documents.
  • Once all records are uploaded and your Veterans Service Officer has reviewed the claim, verify that you have "No More Evidence" and click "Submit".