There are numerous ways to apply for VA disability benefits depending on the type of benefit you are seeking:
We also encourage you to become familiar with evidence requirements so you have a complete understanding of not only VA’s responsibility, but yours as well.
When you apply online through eBenefits you can use the VONAPP Direct Connect (VDC) feature that will recognize you upon log-in and help you complete your claim for disability compensation. You can also upload all supporting evidence you may have and make your claim a Fully Developed Claim.
If you need time to obtain supporting evidence, you can begin the application process within eBenefits/VDC, obtain your evidence and then complete your application and VA will recognize the date you started the application as your date of claim as long as you complete it within one year. By submitting all of your supporting evidence with your claim, you save processing time and obtain a quicker decision.
VA encourages individuals who are applying for disability compensation to work with an accredited representative representative or agent to assist them in completing Fully Developed Claim for submission through eBenefits/VDC. Being accredited means organizations and individuals must have VA permission to represent Veterans before the Department in their claims for VA benefits. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that Veterans have qualified and competent representation. These individuals receive specialized training in VA benefits law and procedure.
You may also apply by visiting a VA Regional Office where trained staff can assist you. You can find your regional office on our Facility Locator page. If you have records that support your claim, you should bring them with you. VA will help you obtain records by requesting them from the person, company, or agency that has them, but if submit them yourself you can save processing time and obtain a quicker decision.
You may also mail us your claim by sending it to your nearest VA Regional Office. You can find your regional office mailing address on our Facility Locator page. If you have records that support your claim, you should send them with your claim. If you want us to request records for you, you must tell us the name and address of the person, company or agency that has these records, the approximate time frame covered by them, and the condition for which you were treated. If you received treatment from a non-VA health care provider you must complete VA Form 21-4142, Authorization and Consent to Release Information to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). We will use this form to request non-VA health records.
If you are a member of the armed forces serving on either active duty or full-time National Guard duty, VA encourages you to apply through its pre-discharge program before leaving service.
You must submit all relevant evidence in your possession and/or provide information sufficient to enable VA to obtain all relevant evidence not in your possession. This includes the following as part of your application:
VA established the Fully Developed Claim Program to expeditiously process claims certified by the claimant or his/her representative as meeting the Fully Developed Claim criteria. In order for you to participate in the Fully Developed Claim Program, you must obtain the relevant service treatment and personnel records and provide them to VA.
If VA decides your claim before one year from the date it is received, you will still have the remainder of the one-year period to submit additional information or evidence necessary to support your claim. For this program, VA will only obtain service treatment records and Federal treatment records when you identify them.
As a standard claim, VA is responsible for getting relevant records from any Federal agency that you adequately identify and authorize VA to obtain.
VA will make every reasonable effort to obtain relevant records not held by a Federal agency that you adequately identify and authorize VA to obtain. These may include privately held evidence and information you tell us about (such as records from a private doctor or hospital) and/or records from State or local governments or current or former employers.
VA will provide a medical examination for you, or get a medical opinion, if determined it is necessary to make a claims decision. Learn more about VA’s responsibilities for obtaining evidence to support your disability compensation claim on the Evidence page.
The required forms to apply for VA disability compensation benefits are listed below. You can download and mail the completed form to your nearest VA regional office, complete and submit online using eBenefits, or call VA at 1-800-827-1000 to have a claim form mailed to you.
Dependents and surviving parents are encouraged to work with an accredited representative or agent to assist them in completing their claims. Claims for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation made by surviving spouses or children require VA Form 21-534EZ, Application for DIC, Death Pension, and/or Accrued Benefits or VA Form 21-534a, Application for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation by a Surviving Spouse or Child, for in-service deaths. For in-service deaths, a Military Casualty Officer should assist you.
Surviving parents can apply using VA Form 21-534EZ, Application for DIC, Death Pension, and/or Accrued Benefits .
Additional forms for other VA benefits programs are available for download on the VA benefits forms page.