How To File & Win Your Claim For Disability Compensation - 2015

The following are the steps to take to file & win your claim.

Following these steps in order doesn't guarantee you'll win

but it will increase the chances of a positive outcome.

Think about it. What are you going to claim?

The more precise you are, the better.

Find your condition in The Schedule For Rating Disabilities.

Use the VA language when you can.

Register for and familiarize yourself with eBenefits.

Complete and file the VA Form 21-0966

​Intent To File a Claim For Compensation, Pension,  Survivors Pension, Or Other Benefits

This will set the effective date of your claim. Retroactive benefits will be paid to this date.

Now you have one year to complete the details of the claim.

Gather your records for your own use.

If there are civilian medical records, get those yourself. Do not rely on VA to get them for you.

If you only have VA medical records, they will be accessible to the raters.

Military records and DD-214 replacements are here.

Get your records (evidence) organized.

Make copies, collate them in good order. If you plan to upload them on-line, start scanning.

If you want to mail them in, the addresses are:

The VA Claims Intake Center - Western Region
Department of Veterans Affairs
PO Box 5235
Janesville, WI  53547-5235
Toll Free FAX Janesville – 844-822-5246

The VA Claims Intake Center - Eastern Region
Department of Veterans Affairs
PO Box 5235
Newnan, GA   30271-0020
Toll Free Fax Newnan – 844-531-7817

Pro Tip

Organizing your records for presentation and review is critical. Eventually a VA employee

(a rater) will sit down at a desk and review your claim submission. If you have given

the rater little to work with, you'll get little in return. If you've given the rater good

evidence, presented neatly and in order, your claim is more likely to win.

File the claim

You've had up to one year to complete the steps above. It's time to formally file

your claim for disability compensation benefits. We recommend that you use the 

electronic claims forms available on line at eBenefits.

You'll be completing the VA Form 21-526EZ

You're done! 

Congratulations. You've filed your claim for VA disability compensation. Now you wait.

VA will notify you that you'rescheduled for a C & P exam.

 Once that step is completed, you wait for the notification that you've won your claim.

How hard was that?

You Must Understand the New Rules for 2015

​The Federal Register

Standard Claims and Appeals Forms
A Rule by the Veterans Affairs Department on 09/25/2014

How To Win Your Claim

Required Forms​​

VA Form 21-0966 - Intent To File A Claim

VA Form 21-526EZ -  File A Claim

Disability Service Connection

Secondary Service Connection-Increased

Disability Compensation-Temporary

Total Disability Rating -

 Individual Unemployability -

Compensation under 38 U.S.C. 1151 -

 Special Monthly Compensation -

Specially Adapted Housing/Special

Home Adaptation Automobile 

Allowance/Adaptive Equipment -

Benefits Based on a Veteran's

Seriously Disabled Child

VA Form 21-0958 - NOD

​Notice of Disagreement

The first step to appeal

VA Form 21-534 EZ

Application for DIC, Death Pension, 

Change of Address

TDIU Annual - VA Form 4140

VA form 21-686c

Declaration of Status of Dependents


Pro Tips

These are a few of  the little details that we've learned over the years.

Consider getting an Independent Medical Opinion (IMO) before you go to the C & P exam.

Although you'll have to pay for an IMO out of your pocket, think of it as an investment

in your future. The IMO is usually the key piece of evidence that wins your claim. We

do not trust the C & P examiners to be experts in diagnosing your conditions. 

Don't rely on "buddy letters" from friends or family to help you establish your disabling

conditions. These statements in support of your claim don't carry much weight unless

they are from people who you served with and they witnessed an event that caused

your disabling condition. You need solid evidence.

Talk with a veterans law attorney. Although you may not be able to retain an attorney

to represent you unless and until there is a denial of a claim, the attorneys you see

featured on VAWatchdog will be happy to speak with you at no charge.  The lawyer

you speak with may have some really good ideas for your claim.

The VAWatchdog is a DIY site.

We promote the idea that veterans are smart enough to submit

their own VA disability claims.

We do not believe that any sort of "VA rep" is necessary.

Nobody cares about your claim the way you do.

Do it yourself, do it right the first time.


Disability Benefits 

Questionnaires (DBQ's) 

List By DBQ Form Name

​​DBQ Provider Instructions



File ALL Claims Here

The VA Claims Intake Center

Western Region

Department of Veterans Affairs

PO Box 5235
Janesville, WI  53547-5235
Toll Free FAX Janesville – 844-822-5246

(Either of these centers will work if you're unsure)

The VA Claims Intake Center

Eastern Region
Department of Veterans Affairs

PO Box 5235
Newnan, GA   30271-0020
Toll Free Fax Newnan – 844-531-7818

File Your Claim On-Line - eBenefits


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