In order to help you understand why you need to file your application for benefits, pension, or DIC the following information is provided from 38 U.S.C. §5110:
Effective Date — usually this is the date that the application for benefits is received by the VA. There are exceptions, however, to this rule which is found in 38 U.S.C.S. §5110 and 38 C.F.R. §3.400.
Disability compensation effective dates — “shall be the day following the date of the veteran’s discharge or release if application therefor is received within one year from such dates of discharge or release.” This is why you need to file your application without delay.
Disability pension — “shall be the date of application or the date on which the veteran became permanently and totally disabled, if the veteran applies for a retroactive award within one year from such date, whichever is to the advantage of the veteran.”
Section 1151 disability compensation — “shall be the date of such injury or aggravation was suffered if an application therefor is received within one year from such date.”
Death compensation, dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC), or death pension — the first day of the month in which the death occurred, as long as application is received within one year from the date of death.
DIC for a child 18 years or older — factors into the compensation for a surviving spouse based upon the child’s 18th birthday if application is received within one year from that birth date.
There is no real reason to delay your application. I encourage active duty members to file your application within one year of separation or retirement. If you are already separated or retired you should file your application for VA benefits immediately file if you have a disability in order to establish the earliest effective date possible.