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Is your VA disability effective date correct?

I have had an uptick in Veterans asking about backdating of their VA disability claims so I wanted to speak to this briefly.

Have you ever wondered how the VA decides on an effective date for your VA disability claims?

Have you ever thought if your effective date should be earlier?

Are you reading this for the first time and realizing that you have never thought about the effective date?

If you answered yes to any of these then continue reading to learn more about effective dates.

What are effective dates?

This is the date where the VA acknowledges a condition is service-connected.

It has no relation to the onset of the disease or injury.

Where do I find my effective dates?

These can be found on your award letter, ratings sheet, or ebenefits image from

How does the VA determine effective dates?

This is usually the date the claim was filed or the onset of the connection, whichever is later.

There are two categories that apply to most Veterans.

  1. Continuously pursued claims

  2. Supplemental claims received after the closing date of a claim

Continuously pursued claims are those where the Veteran receives a decision and continuously chooses one of the options on the letter to disagree with the decision or wants to add more evidence to the claim. This process keeps the claim in the open status.

A claim is considered closed or having a final outcome when 1 year has passed from the decision date and no further action was taken by the Veteran.

Supplemental claims received after the closing date is just as it sounds, a claim filed after that 1 year mark.

The definition of effective date as reported by the 38 CFR (code of federal regulations) is to be:

for continuously pursued claims: the date of receipt of the initial claim or date entitlement arose, whichever is later

for supplemental claims received after the closing date: the date entitlement arose, but will not be earlier than the date of receipt of the supplemental claim.

Why is this important to understand?

This is important because every time you file something it re-opens the claim for review and possible adjustment. This can be in your favor or a reduction/removal of your service-connected condition.

That being said, it should be a careful decision on poking the bear and reopening your disability claims. I wrote about rate reductions in another post where you can access here:

If you need help with your VA disability claims, contact us to talk more about it.

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