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.

Rita BarnesRita Barnes
00:03 20 Jan 22
This is a great group of people who really care about your well being. They all treated me as though I was family and helped me with my work comp case in more ways than the average would have.Thank you Jason and Thank you Tina! For doing an awesome job.
Cortex ButlerCortex Butler
18:09 29 Dec 21
I am a Veteran of United States Air Force and was awarded my first 30% in 1996 and have been fighting for my rating for 26 years I came to Perkins and Studdard in 2019 while my mom was in a terrible incident and was given to much anesthesia and through GODS Grace she was spared her life, She is disabled since 2018 and I have been struggling with my life and issues and yet I didn’t call the law firm every 10 minutes or call being rude anytime, I mentioned this as I got to know Jessica more than just a phone call and Mr Studdard was always available when not working on other cases or in court, They always called back and Never had to do a call back, My Review is Simple in Life there peaks and valleys and it doesn’t stop because you have issues, Perkins & Studdard took my case in 2019 in 2021 I received my 100% from VA, I Was Never Rude, I was Never Promised Success, I Was Never Lied too and I was Always Treated with Respect, Friendliness, and Kindness the Real Stuff not a (Money Thing) If You want a firm that Cares about the Client and will work on your case even through a pandemic, Will not lie, will not promise anything will communicate your case and will Give you their Best ALWAYS THIS IS THE Best Law Firm for VETS HANDS DOWN Perkins and Studdard THERE IS NO OTHER 100% we had 5 calls Total Case That’s Taking Care Of Business
annetteMomma nokesannetteMomma nokes
14:29 12 Sep 16
Jason and his paralegal Lisa were on point and on top of their game when it came to handling my worker's comp. injury case. I tried going it alone and the insurance carrier pushed me around. They denied extra physical therapy. They denied injections the doctor recommended to ease my pain. When I turned my case over to Jason things turned around, QUICK. They were at all times attentive and on top of my case. I cannot recommend Jason and his staff enough. If you are hurt at work, this is the firm you want on YOUR side.
Sheila KirklinSheila Kirklin
23:11 12 May 16
Jason Perkins, was my lawyer in a workers comp. case, my case has settled now, and I am very happy for all Jason and his office hard work on my case, he was always there to help me out with any questions that I had or help I needed. Jason is a excellent lawyer and if I ever need another one I would only go to Perkins,Because I believe they would be able to help me in any situation I am in need of..
Anna PabonAnna Pabon
23:16 13 Sep 15
I recommend Perkins Law Firm. Everyone I came in contact with there was very nice. Kim was very helpful and any time I had a question she made sure I got an answer. Ann Margaret really took the time to explain things to me.

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