Chronology of a VA BDD Compensation Claim

Why?

You may be asking why I would write about my Veteran’s Administration (VA) Benefits Delivery at Discharge (BDD) Compensation Claim.  Simple.  Two reasons:

  1. I’m hoping you will find this information beneficial and help you know ‘what the heck is going on’ with your claim.
  2. I hope you share with others, like us, who’ve filed a claim or plan on filing a claim.

Your results may vary (timelines may be longer or shorter), but, again, I think this will benefit folks who requested a BDD claim and possibly folks who are waiting for an answer on non-BDD claims. Copy and past this link if you want to easily share: http://bit.ly/VA-BDD To make it easier to copy it’s not setup as a hyperlink on this page. Besides, it would come straight back to this page if you clicked it!

Background

The Veterans Administration allows active duty personnel to submit a compensation claim (called BDD) prior to separating/retiring from active duty 60-180 days from separation. With help from the Randolph AFB Chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, I started my application process five months before I retired. I submitted the initial BDD application and ALL of my medical records. A month later I received a packet with a bunch of forms to fill out and three separate appointments over the coming months. The last appointment was a few days before my retirement date.

Waiting

Several of my friends received their rating from two to four months after their retirement dates. I received my VA disability rating five full months after my retirement date. That’s the date my benefits letter displayed on the eBenefits website and my compensation claim status switched to Closed–not the date I actually received my package with the breakdown of how the VA arrived at my rating.  Eight days later (including a weekend and federal holiday) I received my full length exhaustive report with why I was approved or denied for each condition I claimed. The VA also included some forms for additional optional benefits and information regarding appeals.

Claim Status the Quick and Easy Way

I’m going to keep this simple. Use the eBenefits website. Upgrade to the premium edition (it’s free). You need to get your DoD Self-Service Logon (DSLogon) to access the premium features. You can check your claim status on the eBenefits website. I checked my status periodically, after four months, I started checking my status every evening. There are four phases of status for your Compensation & Pension Claims Status. The italics are my comments on the phase definitions I copied from the VA website.

Development: This phase begins when the claim is received and ends when the claim appears to be ready for a decision. This was the status of my claim until I retired at which point it switched to Decision.

Decision: This phase begins when the claim appears to be ready for a decision and ends when the claim has a proposed decision. This phase took the longest. After four months had passed I called the VA 800 number (1-800-827-1000) to ask the status. The call center rep said he’d open an incident and I should hear something within 72 hours.  I received a call from the regional office in charge of my claim the same day. He explained my claim was in a batch of other claims with the board. He said the batch fell between two dates and gave me the dates–mine was in the middle. Then he said I would very likely hear something in two to three weeks. I called again two weeks later to check the status. This time a different rep basically told me to wait–it can take up to a year.

Notification: This phase begins when the claim has a proposed decision and ends when the proposed decision becomes final, all notification letters have been mailed and the claim closed. I switched to this status four months and three weeks after my retirement date. On this day the VA called me because they had a question about one of my forms. The technician told me I should expect a final answer within 10 days. I previously talked to the call center before I switched from Decision to Notification, they told me 10 to 40 days for this phase depending on volume of cases. Having worked in a call center I expect they did not want me calling on the 11th day and that’s why they said up to 40 days…

Closed: This phase begins when the claim is closed or cancelled. For me this was five days after I switched to Notification phase. The same day my account switched from Notification to Closed I went to the letter generator portion of the eBenefits website and I was able to immediately generate a letter with my disability rating and compensation payment information–this is the single page letter you need to get your Disabled Veteran plates (depending on where you live) and other benefits to disabled veterans offered by your state. Strangely, this single page letter does not come in your compensation claim results package. I also called the VA the same day my rating showed on the eBenefits website and requested the letter and they faxed and mailed me a copy of the single page rating letter. I received my first direct deposit (monthly payment) on the next “1st of the month” after I received my official notification. I received my back-pay by direct deposit six weeks after receiving my first monthly payment. 

Things I Learned Along The Way

  • Be patient
  • Be prepared to spend some time filling out questionaires; don’t think you’re going to fill out your questionnaire the night before your VA exam appointment–PLAN AHEAD
  • Know your medical history or read through your medical records
  • Get help from a Veteran Service Organization (VSO) with your compensation claim
  • Be courteous to the VA call center rep; s/he might tell you your ‘unofficial’ rating during the notification phase.
  • BDD claims can take up to a year to process (although, very unlikely for BDD)
  • The eBenefits website is a huge timesaver and is (almost) always available
  • You get back-paid to date of separation. The benefit for the first month is paid on the first day of second month; so, it seems like you will not get a month’s pay when they back-pay you
  • If you retired you cannot receive your lump sum back payment until DFAS reviews it
  • Check for an update of your Retiree Account Statement; you’ll see your monthly VA benefit (CRDP) in the message section on page two (back) very soon after you receive your disability rating
  • Friends who’ve already been through the process are a great source of information and encouragement
  • Payment history on eBenefits is very useful.
  • What is 33-SC-E?

Update on 10.26.2011 | 10:56 PM by  Bruce Bebow

Benefits Delivery at Discharge: http://www.vba.va.gov/predischarge/bdd.htm

Retiring: http://www.dfas.mil/dfas/retiredmilitary.html

Military Order of the Purple Heart: http://www.purpleheart.org/

DoD Self-Service Login: https://myaccess.dmdc.osd.mil/appj/dsaccess/index.jsp

VA Call Center: https://iris.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1703

DFAS reviews it: http://www.dfas.mil/dfas/retiredmilitary/disability/payment.html

Retiree Account Statement: https://mypay.dfas.mil/mypay.aspx

(VA) Payment history: https://eauth.va.gov/ebenefits-portal/ebenefits.portal?_nfpb=true&_nfxr=false&_pageLabel=ebenefits_myeb_paymenthistory

Update on 02.5.2012 | 02:21 PM by  Bruce Bebow

-Best regards, Bruce

Update on 07.17.2012 | 03:55 PM by  Bruce Bebow

If this is the first time you visited my page, I recommend you read the comments. Some good folks took the time to make a few remarks about how the system is working now. 

PLEASE POST YOUR COMMENTS  AND EXPERIENCES SO OTHERS CAN LEARN AND BENEFIT.

26 thoughts on “Chronology of a VA BDD Compensation Claim

  1. Tyler says:

    This is a good read with enough information to be useful. My experience mirrored your and I was glad to see someone put it down and made it available – the links are very helpful for anyone beginning, or otherwise involved in this process.Thanks.

    Like

  2. Mike says:

    It's great to see someone post something positive. I appreciate your patience. I too am being patient. Too many other blogs etc have too many people saying negative mean things about the VA. It is a free benefit that you will get if found to be within reason. Great job here.

    Like

  3. Bill says:

    Many thanks for posting this information. I have been waiting for over 6 months and now know that I may need to wait another 6. It's a shame that Benefits Delivery Discharge is nothing but a 1 year wait that vets like me can't afford.

    Like

  4. John says:

    Hello, I retired on 1 September 2011 after 26 years in the Coast Guard. I started my BDD claim six months before retirement (Mar 11) and had all my exams completed in April. On 1 Sep 11 Ebenefits showed me in the Decision phase. Ater waiting the 60 days I was told the average wait time is 58 days and to be patient. Another 30 days pass and I'm told the average time for BDD claims is 88 days post retirement. I received an email lasy week informing me that the average wait time post retirement date is now 13 MONTHS! I replied to his email asking if he meant 13 months past the initial filing. Never responded. Getting frustrated here as I can't get a job that pays much. Stroke survivor with some memory and arm issues. Thanks for hearing me out.

    Like

  5. Shelli says:

    Having the same experience, it makes me wonder why I even filed a BDD claim! The following is my timeline, thus far:Decemeber 2010-completed all medical appointments and VA had all the information/medical reportsFebruary 28th-Retired from the NavyMarch 1st-Start of my claim processing (day after retirement)February 2012-BDD claim still in initial phase, and not movingI am going on a year now, with now adjudication or status changes. I am not worried about the money, I am worried about the medical conditions that I have. I cannot go to the VA for because I work, and have a job. I was told that I do not "qualify", even though the disabilities are "documented" the VA will not see me because my claim is still outstanding. I am very frustrated, and do not understand the delay. I did my part in getting all the paperwork in, exams done, and I am still waiting!

    Like

  6. John says:

    It is getting frustrating just living off my retirement. Thankfully I have found employment and should start in the next week or two. They even had my dates of service incorrect. Had me at 19 years 10 months when in actuality I had 26 years and 1 month. Resent my DD214 in November and was told to allow 45 days for it to update. We are now at day 75 and it still isn't updated. My let down was believing the VA reps at the TAPS seminar. They were singing the praises of the BDD program and we would in all probability receive out first check 60 days after retirement.

    Like

  7. Davd Kemnitz says:

    My situation almost exactly mirrors Shelli, Retired on 1 Mar 2011.Claim posted to ebenefits on 15 March.Claim moved to the prepare for decision phase some time around October 2011. Received the same letter saying claims are now about 13 months for completion.TAPS still is briefing that it is about 120 days after retirement for a completed/closed claim.My packet is with the Winston_salem BDD crew.Friends of mine that retired that went to the Salt Lake City BDD crew report completed / closed claims w/in four months of retirement date.

    Like

  8. Mark says:

    I retired March 31, 2011. Like many i did a BDD claim and started 6 months prior to retirement, followed all the DAV guys advice and met the deadlines at the earliest date. Completed all of medical appointments prior to retiring. Submitted the copies of my records to VA in October 2010. Provided my originals along with DD214 to VA on April 1st 2011. I am 19 days away from hitting the one year mark on my claim. I have contacted VA thru "IRIS" and thru "Peggy" at the 1-800 number. Same story, its in the decision phase, where it has been since April 15th 2011. I even contacted my DAV rep in Roanoke, Va. No Help at all. I plan on waiting until April 1st, and then I am going to start writing my Senators and Congressman. It's ridiculous that a program designed to take 1 to 3 months has taken a year. What really chaps me, is there are two buddies of mine that retired with me and both had their claims decided in 4 months. We each had 15+ issues.

    Like

  9. 1womanvet says:

    Just want to share my timeline with BDD as well. I retired 1 Sep 11, completed C & P exams in April. My claim went to Decision phase in Nov 11 and Decision approval in Jan 12. A decision was made on 29 Mar. On Aril 11, a gentleman from VA called me asking for information and stated that my claim had been decided upon and told me of my rating. He stated that I should see my envelope in the mail in about 1-2 weeks of his phone call. I was able to go on the ebene letter generator and find all the letters issued after the decision on 15 April (after the weekend update). I am still awaiting my envelope to date. I logged on to ebene recently and even tho my claim has been decided upon and I have a letter with my rating info (percentage, amount, etc.) my claim has gone back to the "gathering evidence" phase. I was told by a friend that may be because they deferred an item, not sure tho. My claim was processed out of Salt Lake City. Even though I had just gotten an ebenes account about 2 months ago, I didn't too much concentrate on the claim, figure it would come when it would. I had heard that despite it being BDD it still could take as long as a year or more, and out of the blue a call came in and I must I say was very pleased with results and thanking God daily!

    Like

  10. John says:

    I'm glad you claim has come to a resolution. I wish mine would. I sent the Power of Attorney packet to the DAV back in December and was told to allow 90 days for the VA to upload that paperwork so the DAV could get to work on it. I've tried calling the DAV since it is going on 120 days after submission but get a bunch of rings then disconnected (Alameda Texas office). Today I sent an email and hope to hear back. A friend of mine is retiring as well and he attended TAPs seminar a few months ago and was told the average time for a BDD claim is about 90 days. I believe there is a disconnect somewhere between the VA and the bene reps doing the seminars. My retirement date was the same as yours 01SEP11. However, mine is being run out of the Winstom Salem office. Congrats on retirement!

    Like

  11. 1womanvet says:

    Thanks John, I also have a friend whom BDD claim is being worked out of Winston Salem office, he actually retired a couple of months before we did and his claim has just gone to the Prep for decision phase per ebenefit (ebene) site a few days ago. He was told that due to the vast amount of cases they handle, Winston Salem is one of the slowest RO around and that his claim has about 120 days till closing. Needless to say, his patience are running short. I know it is easier said than done, But hang in there….BDD mean absolutely nothing with the workload of the VA these days, as I was briefed the 90 day turnaround at my TAPS class as well. The best part about it is once the due close out, you're gonna get the back pay and the longer it is the greater the amount. Hope you get a resolution soon!

    Like

  12. Allen says:

    This is incredible…sadly I didn't find this till now…12 months after I filed and the day my claim went to Notification phase! But I am relieved to see your timetable and have it confirmed with others. I notice your comment on back pay which was helpful but I didnt see anything as to when you started receiving your first check. Clearly at notification phases the decision has been made and one would have to assume (dangerous) that the steps affecting pay have begun or will begin quite soon. Anyway..thanks for the great info!

    Like

  13. John says:

    Tomorrow is 10 months since retiring and 16 months since the BDD process was initiated…….Did the Power of Attorney thing with the DAV. Called multiple times and left messages for my case worker. Never received any responses. Really feeling negative about the VA and DAV…..

    Like

  14. John says:

    Ebenefits now shows my claim resolution to be around the 23rd of December. 15 months post retirement vice the 13 months they said a few months ago. I guess when December comes around they will say they need another 6 months.

    Like

  15. Joseph says:

    Thank you for posting your timeline. Good to hear news from Retirees i.e. those who did it right. My story is leaving after 10 years then going to VA at year 10.75. My contentions are numerous apparently very complex in that my claim has resided at the VARO for 600+ days. At the very least Ebenes shows my file at the Preparation for Notification phase today 7/19/2012. The one step that produced the greatest movement on my case is contacting my local House of Representatives rep. His Officer was extremely helpful which I realized after paranoia from the Letter Generators showing my cases "Completed" which they were not. Those phone calls from the House really stir up the VA to some action.

    Like

  16. Steve says:

    I retire this November after 24 years of Navy Service. I have a paperless claim already sent to Salt Lake. I did the BDD and have already completed all my C&P exams. My DAV rep says all they need is my DD214. I have learned to be patient, but be on top of everything within the VA. Be a part of the solution, not the problem and people will help you out more.This is a great blog with very good information. Thanks

    Like

  17. Clarence Davis says:

    Bruce & alcon: The day after my first post to your blog I rec'd my determination. No way Mr. Bebow possesses those kind of connects; coincidences abound. My Dad ret. Chief hometown P'cola…Straight dope: your VA claim WILL sit what seems forever. You can travel to VARO and be read that same old script (after rating it is conversations). To get your file Attention CONTACT YOUR HOUSE of REPRESENTATIVE. You will get next business day results. We're all Vets so we know what that means. My Rep contact was day 585. My rating day day 640 or so. BDD total 900+.We must remain positive and carry on. We did it for the flag and we are protected by the Flag i.e. 38 CFR meaning LAW.

    Like

  18. John Nelson says:

    I see today (0724/2012) that my case has went to something called "Decision Pending approval" phase. Anyone know how long that phase is?

    Like

  19. Jessica says:

    Bruce,

    Thanks for all the great information. I just received a phone call yesterday from my regional office stating that my claim was being closed and I the VA rep just needed one additional piece of information from me. I filed my claim under the BDD program, which was only supposed to tak around 6 months. Well, it actually took 15 months. But to be honest, I knew they had a huge back log and really didn’t expect the process to be quick. I ended up with a 60% rating, which was better than I had expected and I am just blessed to have this money coming in now. I had no idea what I would be getting each month or that I could print out the disability compensation forms from E-Benefits until I read your blog. Thank you!

    Like

    • Bruce Bebow says:

      Jessica, I’m glad you’re finally getting your claim settled. 15 months is going to be a big backpay check! I’m glad you found my page useful–thank you for commenting.

      Like

  20. Phil says:

    I did the BBD and it was completed in less than 120 days. I filed 16 October 2012 and it closed 8 February 2013. I feel really blessed that it went so smoothly. I worried from reading all the horror stories that it was going to take a year plus from reading other blogs. I don’t know if my medical paperwork and claim were cut and dry after 24 years of service or I just got lucky that my claim went to Columbia, SC. Everything I claimed was approved. Please have faith. The VA has a goal of 125 days to complete the claim.

    Like

    • Bruce Bebow says:

      That’s great news, Phil. Maybe the VA is finally getting a handle on the case load. I’m glad everything worked out for you and everything was approved.

      Like

  21. Victor Dietz says:

    I filed my VA form for BDD in March 1985 after my Formal PEB and my appeal to Sec of AF both agreed on my disability causing me to be unfit for service. My DD214 reads Discharge By Reason of Physical Disability entitlement to severance pay. I seperated April 15 1985 and attended my C&P exam May 15 1985. July 28 1985 got a denial letter from the VA saying my disability was caused by hereditary disease, they ignored Line of Duty determination that the Sec of the AF signed off on. I have a perfect intake exam with no physical waivers and when I separated I did so with a permanent Profile waiver of L3. I provided statements from my parents that stated I played sports and took physicals every year growing up and never had any issues with my spine. I provided a statement letter from my "Buddy" whom I enlisted with and that I was stationed with as roommates until my medical discharge stating that I never had a spine issue until I was injured in the line of duty, he retired after 20 years in the Air Force as a Master Sergeant. Tried the American Legion, DVA and the VFW but all scratched their head and told me to get an attorney. Claim denied each time I went with new VSO in 1990, 1999 and 2009, in 1985 I did not have representation. Most of my applications to reopen my claim were ruled by the statute which only allowed Lawyers to be paid $50 to represent Veteran, law changed and now they can get 20% of award. It’s been 28 years since my BDD was submitted and I am now at the BVA trying to get them to honor my sacrifice. My advice is to never give up because eventually justice will prevail.

    Like

  22. justin says:

    My retirement date was 30 marc 13 it is now june 30 and my ebenefits still says that they are preparing for a decision. Im hoping it comes in soon i have a newborn to feed lol

    Like

  23. Mike M says:

    Just like to say I didn’t get 1/4 into your blog and it helped. Mine closed 8/10 and I called to see if I could get what my comp would be and the VA wouldn’t tell me over the phone. So I went to e-beny like you said and went to docs and there it was. Thanks.

    Like

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