VA Claim TimelineVeterans & Military
Asbestos.com is the nation’s most trusted mesothelioma resource
The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com has provided patients and their loved ones the most updated and reliable information on mesothelioma and asbestos exposure since 2006.
Our team of Patient Advocates includes a medical doctor, a registered nurse, health services administrators, veterans, VA-accredited Claims Agents, an oncology patient navigator and hospice care expert. Their combined expertise means we help any mesothelioma patient or loved one through every step of their cancer journey.
More than 30 contributors, including mesothelioma doctors, survivors, health care professionals and other experts, have peer-reviewed our website and written unique research-driven articles to ensure you get the highest-quality medical and health information.
About The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com
- Assisting mesothelioma patients and their loved ones since 2006.
- Helps more than 50% of mesothelioma patients diagnosed annually in the U.S.
- A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
- 5-star reviewed mesothelioma and support organization.
"My family has only the highest compliment for the assistance and support that we received from The Mesothelioma Center. This is a staff of compassionate and knowledgeable individuals who respect what your family is experiencing and who go the extra mile to make an unfortunate diagnosis less stressful. Information and assistance were provided by The Mesothelioma Center at no cost to our family."LashawnMesothelioma patient’s daughter
How to Cite Asbestos.com’s Article
Asbestos.com. (2020, October 16). VA Claim Timeline. Retrieved January 31, 2023, from https://www.asbestos.com/blog/2012/06/14/va-claim-timeline/
"VA Claim Timeline." Asbestos.com, 16 Oct 2020, https://www.asbestos.com/blog/2012/06/14/va-claim-timeline/.
Asbestos.com. "VA Claim Timeline." Last modified October 16, 2020. https://www.asbestos.com/blog/2012/06/14/va-claim-timeline/.
I speak with many veterans every day, and one topic that comes up often is the uncertain length of time that a VA claim takes. It is one of the biggest frustrations that veterans deal with in their post-service years.
So I thought I’d take a few minutes to list the basic claim types and to explain an average VA timeline to help clear up some of the confusion.
A veteran can file a claim for VA Disability if the veteran has a condition that was incurred during active military duty or was aggravated by circumstances during active duty military.
In terms of asbestos claims, being exposed to asbestos alone is not enough. Instead, a veteran must suffer from an asbestos-related disease.
In general, asbestos-related diseases are:
- Asbestosis (interstitial pulmonary fibrosis)
- Lung cancer (if there is underlying asbestosis)
- And mesothelioma (asbestos cancer).
If a veteran has one of these three diseases or disease types, such as pleural mesothelioma, then a VA Disability claim is in order.
Once a veteran has decided to file a VA Disability claim, they begin the VA Disability application process.
Veterans can file:
- A formal claim (526 form)
- An informal claim, followed by a formal claim
- A “fully developed” claim (526EZ form).
Which claim type to use depends on a veteran’s circumstances and desires. I’ll dive into this topic in a future post. For now, I’ll cover the basic timeline for the average claim.
About a month after a VA claim for disability is submitted, the veteran should receive a letter from the VA. In the letter, the VA basically acknowledges receiving the claim and says it will process the claim and then will let the veteran know if more information is needed or if the veteran needs to see a VA-contracted doctor for one or more examinations.
These doctor appointments do not cost the veteran any money. What’s more, it is vital that the veteran keep these appointments because any cancellations will delay the VA claim significantly.
After receiving the letter, the veteran typically has to wait another five to eight months before the VA renders a decision.
However, if the claim is approved, the VA will pay back pay from the date the claim was filed. This means that there could be six to nine months of tax-free back pay coming, along with the regular monthly disability checks going forward.
So once veterans decide to file a VA claim for disability, they should aim to get their application in as soon as possible. One way to do that is to file an informal claim initially and then follow up by filing a formal claim (as listed above).
(We’ll go into a more in-depth discussion of each of the claim types in future blogs, so check back.)