Did you recently notice a status on your eBenefits saying “VA development letter sent” but you are unsure what that means?
You may be especially confused if you have not received a physical letter.
Here’s what you need to know.
What “VA Development Letter Sent” Means on eBenefits
Development letters are typically sent in the early stages of your claim. They acknowledge that you have submitted a claim and may ask you for additional evidence if you have any to add. This letter is legally required to be sent to anyone who submits a claim. If your eBenefits status says “VA development letter sent,” but you have not received a physical letter yet, do not worry too much, it still may be on the way. It updates in the system sometimes before you get the actual letter in the mail. It should arrive shortly.
If you do not receive your letter, you might want to submit a letter in your claim asking for a copy of your development letter to be sent to you ASAP.
Items That May be Included with the Letter
Along with the letter, there may be forms. Sometimes the forms included in your letter are forms you have already filled out and submitted when you put in your initial claim. If you are not sure if you should or should not fill anything out, reach out to your service office, or to us, and we can help you figure these issues out.
The letter may also ask you for things that are not applicable to your specific case. You do not have to send in everything the letter asks for. You only have to submit anything you have not already sent in.
In a separate letter or phone call, you will likely get a notification for a compensation and pension exam (comp & pen or C & P exam). So, this is not THAT letter.
Sending in Additional Evidence
You may have additional evidence that you want to submit, but you need to decide carefully if it will greatly affect your case. If you submit more medical evidence, it can cause decisions on your case to be delayed pending review of the new information. Moreover, if you have already submitted a Fully Developed Claims (FDC) there might be other considerations to assess.
Regardless, more evidence always runs the risk of your claim could be delayed; however, it is always best to delay an initial claim adjudication vs. appealing a wrong decision based on too little evidence.
Keep in mind that when looking at your claim status on eBenefits it can go back and forth between the different states. Your claim status might read, “review of evidence” today, then when you look in a few days, it might have changed back to, “gathering of evidence,” or “review of evidence.”
This normal. However, it certainly can be stressful. If you have a question about the status of your claim, feel free to connect with a VA claims professional by leaving your information in the contact form below.