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How Long Can You Expect The VA to Spend in Preparation for a Decision?

If you are applying or have already applied for VA benefits, you might find yourself wondering how will the VA take to make a decision?

Though we would like to gaze into a crystal ball to tell you – in truth, this is a difficult question to answer.

Many separate factors go into a VA decision.  Each of those factors potentially causing the VA’s timeline to extend.  

We’ll explore this more below by breaking down several of the reasons the VA may delay in providing a final determination or decision on your claim.

Claims Process

Basically, there are eight steps in the VA claim process.  

8 Steps in the VA Claims Process

  1. Claims Received: Your claim was received by the VA.
  2. Under Review: Your claim has been assigned to a Veteran’s Service Representative. It will be reviewed to determine if additional medical evidence is needed to support your claim.
  3. Gathering of Evidence: Your medical evidence will be gathered from you, a medical professional, a government agency, or another authority. Your claim can return to this step multiple times.
  4. Review of Evidence: Your medical evidence will be reviewed by the Veteran’s Service Representative. If more evidence is needed, your claim will go back to Step 3: Gathering of Evidence.
  5. Preparation for Decision: A decision will be recommended. Your claim may be sent back to Step 3: Gathering of Evidence if there is not enough medical evidence to make a decision.
  6. Pending Decision Approval: The recommended decision will be reviewed, and a final award will be made.
  7. Preparation for Notification: Your claim decision packet is ready to be mailed
  8. Complete: Your decision packet has been mailed and includes

Length of Process

The timeline for how long the VA will take in preparation for your decision depends on the type of claim you filed, the complexity of your disability, the number of disabilities you claimed, and the availability of your medical records during the claims process (see eight steps above). 

During the preparation for decision, the VA Veteran’s Service Representative (assigned in Step 2 above) recommends a decision.  If there is not enough evidence to decide your claim, then your claim will go back to Step 3: Gathering of Evidence.  Your claim will then go through steps 3 through 5. This will repeat until your Veteran’s Service Representative feels he or she has enough evidence to make a decision.

According to the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs website:

You can track the status of your claim by registering for eBenefits at www.ebenefits.va.gov. You can also visit the VA’s ASPIRE web site. Here you can find the average processing days for the regional office that is working on your claim. To find the average processing days for your state:

  • Find your state on the map, place your cursor within the state and click
  • This will open the Veterans Benefits Administration Aspire • Benefits site. Click “Enter”
  • You should see a split-table. On the left table click on “Compensation”
    • This will expand the table. Approximately five rows down is “Rating Claims Processing “
  • Follow that row to the right until you locate the cell located within the column of your regional office.

The number you see is the average processing days to complete a claim that requires a disability rating. The average is based on completed claims since October 1 in a given fiscal year

Can My VA Claim Be Sped Up?

Waiting can be frustrating, but unfortunately is part of the process.  One of the best ways to determine if your VA claim can be sped up is to reach out to a VA claims specialist.

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