What Are the Rules for Back Pay of Disability From the VA?

If a veteran submits his claim within one year of his date of separation, his date of separation is the eligible date for disability back pay. If his claim is submitted after the one-year period, the eligibility date is the first day of the month following the month the claim was received.

There are special exceptions to the filing rules. In certain circumstances, veterans may be awarded benefits prior to the date of their original claim for benefits, and this is usually common for recently discharged veterans. In those cases, the effective date is the date of discharge, not the date of the application. If veterans file a request for an increased disability rating, the date for the increase is usually the date the request for increase was filed.

For Vietnam veterans, there are also special rules that apply when it comes to compensation for an Agent Orange-related disability. This rule is in effect because some of the illnesses arose before the VA started granting service-connected disability compensation relating to Agent Orange. With those cases, the VA does not consider the filing time-frame rule. Also, if the VA made an error in denying a veteran's claim, the effective date rule does not apply.