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Veterans Benefits Administration

Separation Health Assessment for service members

Are you a Service member separating, retiring or deactivating? Do you have injuries or illnesses attributed to your service?

You may only need one separation medical examination!

The Separation Health Assessment (SHA) is a single separation examination which supports both the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability compensation process and the Department of Defense (DoD) separation/retirement process.

The SHA makes current health information accessible to both VA and DoD.

How Does It Work?

  • VA conducts the SHA for Service members applying for disability compensation through the Benefits Delivery at Discharge (BDD) or the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) programs. The SHA results are used as part of a VA disability compensation determination and are also provided to DoD for military separation purposes.
  • DoD conducts an examination for Service members who are not participating in the BDD or IDES programs, or have less than 90 days remaining on active duty
  • The SHA includes:
    • Part A – a medical history questionnaire. You must complete Part A prior to attending your Clinical Assessment (Part B)
    • Part B – a Clinical Assessment. The examiner will review your Part A and your Service Treatment Records (STRs), conduct the examination and provide a Clinical Assessment

NOTE: Part A provides your examiner helpful details, such as identification, contact, personal, health & wellness and occupational information to ensure your exam is as 2 accurate and thorough as possible.

Benefits of SHA

The SHA provides a complete medical evaluation at separation, which:

  • Documents any medical concerns identified during your military career
  • Assesses your current health and medical history
  • Provides early detection of illnesses/diseases attributable to occupational exposures and hazards in military workplaces and identification of potential VA presumptive conditions
  • Provides information to focus future Veteran outreach efforts
  • VA/DoD share examination results to avoid duplication


To file a BDD claim for VA disability compensation, you should:

  • Know your separation date
  • File claim between 180 and 90 days prior to separation
  • Provide a copy of your STRs for the current period of service, which should include your military entrance physical examination
  • Complete and submit Separation Health Assessment - Part A Self-Assessment. Download from
  • Be available for 45 days from the date the claim is submitted to attend VA exams
VA will schedule your SHA to examine your claimed conditions as part of your BDD claim.

For detailed information on how to apply for BDD, view our Benefits Delivery at Discharge Fact Sheet at:

If you are not filing a claim for VA disability compensation or have less than 90 days until discharge or retirement, contact your nearest Military Treatment Facility who will conduct your examination.

A completed Part A is also required as part of a referral into the IDES program. Your assigned VA Military Services Coordinator will assist you in filing a VA disability compensation claim as part of your IDES claim and request the needed VA 3 examinations for your Clinical Assessment. Detailed IDES information can be found on our VA Benefits for Service Members Considered for Medical Discharge Fact Sheet at:

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I submit a VA disability claim while still on active duty?

A: Yes. The BDD Program allows you to submit a claim 180 to 90 days prior to separation or retirement. View our BDD Fact Sheet at

Q: What if I need to file a disability claim but have less than 90 days left on active duty?

A: You cannot file a BDD claim, but you can still submit a claim prior to separation. The claim will be processed through the traditional process. Visit the fully developed claim program web page at

Q: How do I file a VA disability claim in general?

A: There are a few ways to file a disability claim:

You will need to submit a copy of your STRs and any previous treatment records not associated with TRICARE referrals.

You should receive details on eligibility and requirements during your Transition Assistance Program briefing.

For more VA benefits information, call 800-827-1000 or visit