This page will try and give you an idea of how long VA claims for compensation and pension take. The short answer
is that it usually takes a very long time. The Veterans Administration in my opinion has more claims than they can handle
efficiently with the number of employees they have.
Below I have included some statistics. These numbers
can be a little confusing since they come from different sources and they address averages at different stages of the VA process.
Veteran's Compensation and Pension: How Long it Takes and How to Decrease
According to Department of Veterans Affairs Performance and Accounting report (2006) it takes an average of 196
days to get your first decision from the time they receive your application. The average time it takes from the
time your Notice of Disagreement is recieved until you get a Board of Veterans Appeals decision is 971 days according
to BVA Chairman Report for year 2006. From the time you file your NOD until you get a final decision from
Regional office or BVA is 686 days (Source: Chairman of BVA to House Committee on Veterans Affairs). The United
States Court of Veterans Claims annual report shows from filling until disposition for the year 2006 was 351 days. The
statistics above are misleading because often times a case is sent back several times at different stages and different
issues are decided at different times. It can often take years for a claim to be finished. Some
claims may go on for 7 years or more before they are completely resolved. So although the above statistics
are interesting they are probably useless in trying to figure out how long your claim will take.
The best advice I
can give you is to expect and prepare yourself for the possibility that it will take years before your claim is
So what can you do to decrease the amount of time it takes to have your claim resolved? Get a copy
of your C-file from the VA see what is missing and try and get medical records and other evidence in as soon
as you can. If the VA request something from you get it to them as fast as possible. Don't rely on the VA
to get everything. Be proactive and get what you need to win your case and send it in. When you get
a Rating Decision or Statement of the Case read it and see what they say you are missing from the file. Many times
what they say is missing is in the file but you will only know this if you have the file. If what they are asking for
is not in the file get the information they say they need. Know what you have to prove to win your case and
get the evidence you need to do so. If you don't understand the process and what you need to prove research
it or get the help of a lawyer or representative. Don't miss deadlines. Don't miss VA medical exams.
If you are at the BVA and you submit new evidence and you don't want your case to be sent back to RO make sure
to let them know by waiver not to send the evidence back to RO for review. You can't do much to speed up the
VA side of the claim but you can do all you can on your side to make sure your case is ready for a fair decision.
Free Veterans Disability Case Evaluation