How to Calculate Your VA Disability Back Pay

How to Calculate Your VA Disability Back Pay

The VA disability claims process isn’t quick. The VA says that the average time to process a claim is 159.8 days. That’s more than five months. Some claims take even longer. And some have to be appealed or supplemented. Waiting for determination can be a tough time for veterans and their families.

Fortunately, VA disability benefits include back pay. Here’s what you need to know about VA disability back pay, who gets it, and how it’s calculated.

What Is It? 

In simple terms, VA disability back pay is a lump sum payment a disabled veteran receives to cover the time when they were disabled but their claim had not yet been approved. This may also be available when increasing a disability rating. 

What Period Does VA Disability Back Pay Cover? 

In most cases, the effective date–the date when benefits start accruing–is the date the veteran files their claim for VA disability benefits or notice of intent to file, but in some cases, a veteran may be entitled to back pay from an earlier date.

Can a Veteran Lose Out on Back Pay? 

To be entitled to back pay, you must do your part to keep your claim moving forward. For example, if your claim is denied and you do not appeal in a timely manner, the denial becomes final. Even if you file a new claim and benefits are approved for the same condition, the start date of your benefits will not reach back to cover that original period. It will typically start as of the date of the new claim.

Because the full claim and appeals process can take from several months to well over a year, failing to appeal could cost you many months of benefits.

Calculating Back Pay

You may think that when you are approved for VA disability benefits, the VA will simply count up the number of months you should have received compensation for and multiply it by your current monthly benefit amount. It’s not quite that straightforward.

First, you will receive back benefits based on the benefit for your disability rating during the month when you should have received the pay, not based on the current benefit level. In some cases that is the same. But if the case overlaps two or three calendar years, there may be different rates involved for different time periods. Other factors may affect the benefit level as well. For instance, if you had a dependent child living with you when you applied for benefits, but the child turned 18 and moved out before you started receiving benefits, you may be entitled to an increased benefit amount for the months when you had the dependent living with you.

Pursuing VA Disability Benefits Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated

If determining whether and how much back pay you should expect seems complicated, don’t worry. Our experienced VA disability benefits advocates understand the complexities of this and other aspects of the VA claim and appeals process. To learn more about how we can guide you through the process, call (855) 855-8992 or click here to contact us now.


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