Waiting for the VA to make a decision on your application for disability benefits can be very frustrating. However, if you submit a fully developed claim, you may be able to minimize delays and gain access to your benefits in a timely fashion.
Understanding the Fully Developed Claim
A fully developed claim is one that contains all of the necessary evidence for the VA to make a decision. To submit a fully developed claim, you should turn in your completed Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits (VA Form 21-526EZ) with all the necessary supporting documents. Then, you will need to certify that there’s no more evidence the VA might need to decide your claim.
The VA may still request that you attend a medical exam before they make a decision, but this depends on the circumstances of your case. You can check the status of your claim any time you have a question about what to expect from the process.
There’s No Risk to This Process
There is no potential risk associated with filing a fully developed claim. Your claim will receive the same amount of attention regardless of the process you choose to use. The only difference is that you may be able to reduce delays by submitting all of the evidence with your initial application.
If you make a mistake and the VA determines you need additional records to support your claim, your application will simply be removed from the fully developed claims program and processed as a standard disability claim. You will not be penalized in any way.
If you decide on your own that additional information or evidence is needed for your claim, you maintain the right to submit supporting documents at any time. However, this will cause your application to be removed from the fully developed claims program and be processed as a standard disability claim.
Do You Need to Speak With a Veterans Benefits Lawyer?
If you need to speak with an experienced veterans benefits lawyer, please contact us online, or call our Virginia Beach office to schedule your free consultation. We have offices throughout Virginia, including Chesapeake, Newport News, Norfolk, and Suffolk.