How long does a VA claim take?

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Ever feel this way during your veterans disability claim?

“How long does a VA claim take?”  It is a question that I hear from veterans on a daily basis.  I will do my best to answer that question, but let me first give you my best lawyer-like answer:

It depends because every VA claim is different and there are choices along the way that makes it shorter or longer.  I will try to get a little more specific, but I also want to talk a little about what is more important – what you can be doing to improve your chances while you are in VA’s slow claims process.

Really, how long does a VA claim take?

That question does not have a simple answer because there is no clear end to a VA disability compensation claim.  There is the initial claims decision.  After that, there are series of appeals that can extend the time frame indefinitely.

Man sitting with hands crossed I have seen veterans who filed a fully developed claim and received a ratings decision on their claim 90 days later.  But, this is usually just the first step in your VA disability compensation claim.  VA does not usually get it completely right the first time around.

The ratings decision often denies your claim for benefits or does not grant all the benefits you deserve.  In that situation, you will need to decide what to do next.  This gets very complicated because VA changed the rules a few years ago.  This is where the question “how long does a VA claim take?” gets a little harder to answer.

You will have a few different options on appeal that can impact how long the entire process takes.  I won’t go into all of those here since you may already be familiar with them.  The different routes you take have different pros and cons.  Some are quicker than others and some are more likely to be effective.

Each one of these is a “fork in the road”.  Each path is a little different in terms of process and length of time.  It is not unusual for a claim to be several years old by the time it makes it to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.

I wish it could be a simple answer as to which path to take.  Unfortunately, which route is best will depend on the specific facts in your case and the reasoning that VA gave when they issued your ratings decision.

Do you want it done fast or do you want it done right?

Both, right?  If you have not seen it, here is a funny clip from The SimpsonTV-show where Homer asks Marge this question.

Marge told Homer that she was “like most Americans” and wanted it done fast.  I find some veterans are like Homer and his stick of dynamite.  They resort not to actual explosives but to explosive language directed at the VA.

I see it all the time in VA claims files I review.  Complaining about the VA or to the VA is not going to make it go any faster.  Adding more paperwork to the file, whether it is a written complaint or redundant information, will only slow down the process.  Some veterans don’t realize that they are contributing to the delay when they do this.

A couple sitting on a couch looking at a piece of a paper

I can promise you that a better use of your time will be figuring out what evidence and what appeals path is the best one for your claim.  Spend your time wisely and use the delay to gather winning evidence for your claim.

If you do that, you will make it easier for the VA to approve your claim and cut out unnecessary delay. That is the best of both worlds – a quick (ok, somewhat quick) and successful VA disability compensation claim.


Travis Studdard is an attorney who focuses on representing veterans in VA disability compensation claims.  He regularly writes about issues that are important to veterans and their families.

You can subscribe to his Veterans Disability channel on YouTube.

Thank you Jason and Tina for everything you've done. Much appreciated. Great law firm! Great results!! Thank you!!! (Austin and Valerie)Valerie Mellinger
Travis and the team working on my VA claim are awesome. I’m happy with their integrity and diligence on working on my claim.Chris “Greybeard” Mullennix
I can't express enough how great it was to work with Perkins Studdard. They are extremely knowledgeable, professional and keep you aware of everything happening with your case. Very friendly from the front office to Mr. Perkins. I would HIGHLY recommend Perkins Studdard!James Strickland
I recommend Travis for an Veteran that has been dealing with constant denial with claims. He also , cover cost for my nexus letter when I ran into financial troubles , that helped me win my case.edwin Cook
I highly recommend Travis Studdard to represent anyone looking to help with VA claims. The VA is very difficult to deal with when attempting to get benefits from service connected injuries, at least that's my experience. Travis and his team knows the VA system and the legal procedures to help you get what you deserve. Travis was kind and passionate with me throughout this process and therefore, I highly recommend this law firm to represent DAV's.Terry Hembree
Such an awesome team. They spoke to me like a person and helped me through every decision with knowledge.Kevin Collett
Highly recommend this firm. Did exactly what they said they were going to and fairly timely. The VA is sometimes extremely difficult to navigate but this took all the leg work away from me and got me the result I thought was fair.Andrew Boone
Amazing staff, very informed along with excellent communication. Within just a few weeks of work, Mr Studdard was able to make things happen that normally take years! Highly recommendJacob Sylvester
Perkins Studdard LLC is the place you need to be if you have a Workers Comp case going on! Mr. Jason Perkins and his staff get the results that you need. They work with you and fight for you.Coming from another lawyer my husband and I were really surprised and appreciated the communication and honesty and understanding throughout the entire process. My husband loves the videos because they held so much information and helped him understand what what was going on. Thank you so much for representing us!!!Deborah Tompkins
I highly recommend Jason Perkins and the Team at Perkins and Studdard. Jason did a wonderful job on my case and actually got me better results than what I was hoping for. He was always so patient with me and made sure I was understanding every process in my case. He never seemed to mind me asking questions and always gave me straightforward answers. My phone calls to him or his staff were promptly answered or returned and everyone was always so helpful, personable, and respectful. He kept me updated on all the details of my case and sent helpful videos for me to review that were very informative.Dru Vaughn

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