Fully Developed Claim – Receiving More Veterans Benefits In Less Time

According to an article at Military Times, there is now a way for veterans to speed up the receipt of disability compensation benefits while also potentially increasing the amount of compensation received.  U.S. veterans seeking compensation for service connected disabilities who are filing initial claims can potentially receive extra benefits for using the Department of Veterans Affairs fully developed claims process.   According to this article, beginning in August 2013 and extending through August 2015, the Department of Veterans Affairs will offer a check for up to a year’s worth of additional disability benefits to veterans who file a “fully developed” claim and end up being approved.  A fully developed claim involves the veteran gathering all information needed for the claim (medical records, service records, buddy statements, and other documents) and submitting it to the VA.  There is additional information on the VA’s website about how to go about filing a fully developed claim.

What Should I Consider When Deciding Whether to File A Fully Developed Claim?

One of the reasons that the VA pushes filing fully developed claims is that you will receive a quicker decision on your claim.  However, a veteran may have to weigh the possibility of receiving a quicker decision against the possibility that the decision may not be the correct one.  Part of the fully developed claims process is a certification that the veteran has submitted or made the VA aware of all evidence that supports the veteran’s claim for benefits.  If the VA makes a decision that is not correct, then the veteran will need to file an appeal of the decision.  The delays from an appeal will likely outweigh any benefit in speed that was potentially gained by the fully developed claim process.

Of course, it is also important for a veteran to consider the additional one year of disability benefits that may be available by filing an initial claim through the fully developed claim process.  This may make it worthwhile to file a fully developed claim.

Question About Fully Developed Claims

If you would like assistance filing a claim for disability compensation, Perkins Studdard provides help filing initial applications for veterans benefits for free.  You can read more about this in this article.  Also, if you want to talk to one of our attorneys about filing an initial application for free or to get any of your other questions about veterans benefits answered, simply complete the “Need Help” form at the right or call the phone number at the upper right of this page.