When VA makes a determination that a compensation award is to be paid based on a claim, an effective date is also assigned. The effective date determines when benefits are payable. Effective dates can vary based on the type of benefit and the circumstances of the claim.
Listed below are the most common types of claims and generally how effective dates are assigned for each type.
Generally, an effective date for service-connection for a disability that is directly linked to an injury or disease that was incurred or aggravated by military service is the date VA receives a claim or the date entitlement arose, whichever is later. The date entitlement arose means the date the condition was shown to exist by medical evidence.
There is an exception in cases where the claim is filed within one year of separation from active military service. For these claims, the effective date will be the day following separation.
Generally, an effective date for service-connection for a disability that is presumed to be related to military service is the date entitlement arose if the claim is received by VA within one year of release from active duty. If the claim is received by VA after one year of release from active duty, the effective date is the date of receipt of the claim or the date entitlement arose, whichever is later.
Normally, the effective date for a reopened claim is the date of receipt of claim or date entitlement arose, whichever is later.
If there is a change in law or VA regulation that allows for VA to pay disability compensation, the effective date may be assigned in the following ways:
For claims based on death in service, the effective will be the first day of the month in which the death actually or was presumed to have occurred.
If VA finds an error in a previous decision, the effective date of the new decision will be the date from which benefits would have been payable had there not been an error.
A decision that is based on a difference of opinion will have an effective date of the original decision had it been favorable.
The earliest date as of which it is factually ascertainable that an increase in disability had occurred if claim is received within 1 year from such date, otherwise, the date the claim was received.
Veterans Crisis Line:
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Last updated October 22, 2013