When a veteran first applies for disability benefits, that is called their “original claim.” For some veterans, this will be the only disability claim that they make. Their service-related condition will not change, and their benefits will remain the same.
Other veterans will experience a change in their disability, which may make them eligible for increased benefits. To have their disability rating re-evaluated, they must file a new claim. Each type of VA disability claim has a different name and purpose. It is helpful for veterans to be familiar with these terms.
What are the different VA disability claims?
After their original claim is processed, a veteran may need to apply for any of the following:
- Increased claim. This claim is available for veterans whose service-connected disability has worsened since their original claim. They will be evaluated for a higher disability rating and increased compensation.
- New claim. This type of claim should be filed for more financial support, special monthly payments, and a request for unemployability status.
- Secondary claim. A veteran who has a new disability that is linked to a service-connected disability should file a secondary claim to receive more benefits.
- Special claim. These claims cover needs like a specially equipped vehicle or temporary payments for certain medical situations, like recovering from surgery.
- Supplemental claim. A supplemental claim should be filed if benefits were denied and the veteran did not request an appeal. There must be new medical evidence to support this type of claim.
Veterans who plan to file any of these claims may wish to speak with a VA disability attorney. Claims often take several months to process, and incomplete or incorrect paperwork could make the process take much longer. An attorney can help you make sure that the information you send is complete and accurate.
What else do I need to know about filing a disability claim?
As soon as a veteran wants to apply for benefits, they should complete an Intent to File form. This form is important because benefits may be retroactive, starting when the form is submitted.
When you are ready to pursue a disability claim, you can apply online, via the mail, or in person. Your local VA office can help you with the process.