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How to Apply

Disability Compensation

Veterans who have disabilities, medical conditions, or injuries incurred or aggravated during active military service—no matter when or where they served—may be eligible to receive tax-free monthly benefits.

VA Requirements

To support a claim for service connection, the evidence must show the following:

  • You have a current physical or mental disability.
  • You had an injury or disease in service or experienced an event in service that caused or aggravated an injury or disease.
  • There is a link between your current disability and the event, injury, or disease in military service.

If you have any of the following relevant items, you should submit them with your claim:

  • Discharge or separation papers (the DD-214 or equivalent)
  • Service treatment records and supporting statements
  • Private medical provider records and hospital reports

VA Application Process

The fastest and simplest way to obtain a VA decision on a compensation claim is to submit all supporting documents and evidence together in a Fully Developed Claim (FDC) online at or by mail. Typical steps to apply online include:

If you think you want to file an FDC but aren’t quite ready yet, you can start an FDC at, save your incomplete application, gather all your documents and then submit your claim up to one year later. This will preserve your effective date if the claim is submitted within one year.

Request an increase in disability compensation

The Decision Ready Claim (DRC) program is the fastest way to get your disability compensation claim for an increase processed. Veterans with a service connected rating who are currently receiving disability compensation, and whose condition has worsened, may be eligible to apply.

To submit a DRC, you will need to work through an accredited Veterans Service Organization representative who will assist you to ensure all supporting evidence (e.g., medical exams) is included with your claim. This will accelerate the process and allow VA to complete your claim within 30 days of submission.

Learn more about Decision Ready Claims.

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