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When a veteran files for disability benefits from the VA, it can take some time to complete. The VA processes a tremendous volume of cases, and there are many steps to the process, so you should start as soon as possible. By filing an “intent to file” (VA Form 21-0966 or call them directly) you initiate the process with very little effort on your part, and you have a full year to actually file your claim.
Submitting an intent to file is valuable because, in most situations, it sets the effective date for retroactive pay. It is a misconception that the VA will give a veteran back pay to the date of the injury or disability for which the veteran is filing. The calculation of the retroactive benefits date is determined by several factors, as follows:
- In most cases, your retroactive pay date will be the date you filed for VA disability compensation or the date you submitted your intent to file.