How Long Can You Expect The VA to Spend in Preparation for a Decision?

How Long Can You Expect The VA to Spend in Preparation for a Decision?

If you are applying or have already applied for VA benefits, you might find yourself wondering how will the VA take to make a decision?

Though we would like to gaze into a crystal ball to tell you – in truth, this is a difficult question to answer.

Many separate factors go into a VA decision.  Each of those factors potentially causing the VA’s timeline to extend.  

We’ll explore this more below by breaking down several of the reasons the VA may delay in providing a final determination or decision on your claim.  

Claims Process

Basically, there are eight steps in the VA claim process. 

8 Steps in the VA Claims Process

  1. Claims Received: Your claim was received by the VA.
  2. Under Review: Your claim has been assigned to a Veteran’s Service Representative. It will be reviewed to determine if additional medical evidence is needed to support your claim.
  3. Gathering of Evidence: Your medical evidence will be gathered from you, a medical professional, a government agency, or another authority. Your claim can return to this step multiple times.
  4. Review of Evidence: Your medical evidence will be reviewed by the Veteran’s Service Representative. If more evidence is needed, your claim will go back to Step 3: Gathering of Evidence.
  5. Preparation for Decision: A decision will be recommended. Your claim may be sent back to Step 3: Gathering of Evidence if there is not enough medical evidence to make a decision.
  6. Pending Decision Approval: The recommended decision will be reviewed, and a final award will be made.
  7. Preparation for Notification: Your claim decision packet is ready to be mailed
  8. Complete: Your decision packet has been mailed and includes

Length of Process

The timeline for how long the VA will take in preparation for your decision depends on the type of claim you filed, the complexity of your disability, the number of disabilities you claimed, and the availability of your medical records during the claims process (see eight steps above). 

During the preparation for decision, the VA Veteran’s Service Representative (assigned in Step 2 above) recommends a decision.  If there is not enough evidence to decide your claim, then your claim will go back to Step 3: Gathering of Evidence.  Your claim will then go through steps 3 through 5. This will repeat until your Veteran’s Service Representative feels he or she has enough evidence to make a decision.

According to the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs website:

You can track the status of your claim by registering for eBenefits at www.ebenefits.va.gov. You can also visit the VA’s ASPIRE web site. Here you can find the average processing days for the regional office that is working on your claim. To find the average processing days for your state:

  • Find your state on the map, place your cursor within the state and click
  • This will open the Veterans Benefits Administration Aspire • Benefits site. Click “Enter”
  • You should see a split table. On the left table click on “Compensation”
    • This will expand the table. Approximately five rows down is “Rating Claims Processing “
  • Follow that row to the right until you locate the cell located within the column of your regional office.

The number you see is the average processing days to complete a claim that requires a disability rating. The average is based on completed claims since October 1 in a given fiscal year

Can My VA Claim Be Sped Up?

Waiting can be frustrating, but unfortunately is part of the process.  Feel free to contact us if you need any help with your Veterans benefits claim or want to know if there are any ways to speed it up.

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What Does VA “Development Letter Sent” Mean?

What Does VA “Development Letter Sent” Mean?

What Does VA “Development Letter Sent” Mean?

 

Did you recently notice a status on your eBenefits saying “VA development letter sent” but you are unsure what that means?

You may be especially confused if you have not received a physical letter.

Here’s what you need to know.

 

What “VA Development Letter Sent” Means on eBenefits

Development letters are typically sent in the early stages of your claim.  They acknowledge that you have submitted a claim and may ask you for additional evidence if you have any to add.  This letter is legally required to be sent to anyone who submits a claim. If your eBenefits status says “VA development letter sent,” but you have not received a physical letter yet, do not worry too much, it still may be on the way.  It updates in the system sometimes before you get the actual letter in the mail.  It should arrive shortly.

If you do not receive your letter, you might want to submit a letter in your claim asking for a copy of your development letter to be sent to you  ASAP.

 

Items That May be Included with the Letter

Along with the letter, there may be forms.  Sometimes the forms included in your letter are forms you have already filled out and submitted when you put in your initial claim.  If you are not sure if you should or should not fill anything out, reach out to your service office, or to us, and we can help you figure these issues out.

The letter may also ask you for things that are not applicable to your specific case.  You do not have to send in everything the letter asks for.  You only have to submit anything you have not already sent in.

In a separate letter or phone call, you will likely get a notification for a compensation and pension exam (comp & pen or C & P exam).  So, this is not THAT letter.

 

Sending in Additional Evidence

You may have additional evidence that you want to submit, but you need to decide carefully if it will greatly affect your case.  If you submit more medical evidence, it can cause decisions on your case to be delayed pending review of the new information.  Moreover, if you have already submitted a Fully Developed Claims (FDC)  there might be other considerations to assess.

Regardless, more evidence always runs the risk of your claim could be delayed; however, it is always best to delay an initial claim adjudication vs. appealing a wrong decision based on too little evidence.

 

eBenefits Statuses

Keep in mind that when looking at your claim status on eBenefits it can go back and forth between the different states.  Your claim status might read, “review of evidence” today, then when you look in a few days, it might have changed back to, “gathering of evidence,” or “review of evidence.”

This normal.  However, it certainly can be stressful.  If you have a question about the status of your claim, feel free to reach out to our team at your convenience.

 

Contact LCL With Questions About Your VA Claim Status

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