Filing Claims for Disabilities In Relation to Active Duty Service

Question: How do I submit a claim for disabilities related to my active duty service?

The Veterans Affairs website (https://www.va.gov) has a lot of great information on this and other topics. Here is one posted on this topic.


How do I prepare before starting my application?


What evidence will I need to provide to support my claim?

You can help to support your VA disability claim by providing documents, such as:

  • VA medical records and hospital records that relate to your claimed illnesses or injuries or that show your rated disability has gotten worse
  • Private medical records and hospital reports that relate to your claimed illnesses or injuries or that show your disability has gotten worse
  • Supporting statements you’d like to provide from family members, friends, clergy members, law enforcement personnel, or those you served with that can tell us more about your claimed condition and how and when it happened or how it got worse

Depending on the type of claim you file, you may gather supporting documents yourself, or you can ask for our help to gather evidence.

Find out what evidence we’ll need for your claim

We’ll also review your discharge papers (DD214 or other separation documents) and service treatment records.

Please note: You don’t have to submit any evidence to support your claim, but we may need to schedule a claim exam so we can learn more about your condition.

You should also know that you have up to a year from the date we receive your claim to turn in any evidence. If you start your application and need time to gather more supporting documents, you can save your application and come back later to finish it. We’ll recognize the date you started your application as your date of claim as long as you complete it within 365 days.


Can I file my claim online?

It depends on your situation. Answer a few questions, and we’ll guide you to the right place.


What other ways can I file my disability claim?

By mail

File your claim by mail using an Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits (VA Form 21-526EZ).
Download VA Form 21-526EZ (PDF)

Print the form, fill it out, and send it to this address:

Department of Veterans Affairs
Claims Intake Center
PO Box 4444
Janesville, WI 53547-4444

In person

Bring your application to a VA regional office near you.
Find a VA regional office near you

With the help of a trained professional

You can work with a trained professional called an accredited representative to get help filing a claim for disability compensation.
Get help filing your claim


What happens after I file my VA disability claim?

Find out what happens after you file

You don’t need to do anything while you’re waiting unless we send you a letter asking for more information. If we schedule exams for you, be sure not to miss them.


If I start my VA disability application, does VA consider this “intent to file”?

No. Simply starting your VA disability application doesn’t show your intent to file. You’ll need to submit an intent to file form, which sets the effective date (the day you can start getting your benefits). Then you can focus on gathering supporting documents to turn in with your pension application. If you submit an intent to file before you file your claim, you may be able to get retroactive payments (money you’ll get starting from your effective date).

Note: If you file your claim online, you don’t need to separately send an intent to file form. The online application already includes your intent to file.


How do I submit an intent to file?

You can submit your intent to file by phone or by written form.

Note: If you file your claim online, you don’t need to separately send an intent to file form. The online application already includes your intent to file.

By phone

Call 800-827-1000, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET.

By submitting a form

Download, fill out, and submit an Intent to File a Claim for Compensation and/or Pension, or Survivors Pension and/or DIC (VA Form 21-0966).
Download VA Form 21-0966 (PDF)

Turn in your form in any of these ways:

  • Mail it to this address:

    Department of Veterans Affairs
    Claims Intake Center
    PO Box 4444
    Janesville, WI 53547-4444

  • Turn it in at a VA regional office near you.
    Find a VA regional office near you
  • Work with a trained professional called an accredited representative to get help applying for VA disability benefits.
    Get help filing a claim


Ronald W. Ask, since passing the California State Bar Exam in 1981, has had a long history of serving the Riverside and San Bernardino County communities in many types of law, but particularly in the areas of wills, trusts and estate planning, Medi-Cal eligibility qualifying coupled with asset protection, conservatorships, probate, will contests, trust administration and trust litigation.

Mr. Ask has been a bankruptcy law practitioner since 1982, as well and is a member of The State Bar of California and The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys

For several years, beginning in 1993 and continuing on into 1998, Mr. Ask spoke to groups at many senior centers and other public forums on a regular basis. He has been a guest speaker at the University of California, Riverside, on occasions where panels of persons in the legal community have been scheduled for discussions for the benefit of pre-law students. Mr. Ask has also been invited as a guest lecturer at Riverside Community College on subjects such as Probate and Estate Planning and on Consumer Bankruptcy.

He has also appeared as a “talking head” on Los Angeles based network news and on Coachella Valley Television News on issues such as Advance Health Care Directives and Adoption.