VA Disability Benefit Claims – Wait Times Explained

When filing an initial claim for disability benefits with the Veterans Administration (VA) it takes approximately 118 days to process the claim and make a decision. However, this is an estimated completion timeline. In each individual case, the time it takes to review your claim depends on a number of factors including the number of disability claims, the time needed to collect evidence including medical records, and the type of claim filed. 

By Matthew J. Brown, Esq.
VA-accredited attorney and partner at Wolf & Brown Law Offices

If a claim is denied, one option available is to appeal it by filing a request for a Higher-Level Review. When a Veteran initiates this request, they are unable to submit any new and relevant evidence – they may only request a senior reviewer complete a review of their initial claim and decision. Simply put, this means a review officer who did not participate in the original decision process will decide the claim without deference to the previous decision-maker. The VA’s goal for completing a request for Higher-Level Review is approximately 125 days or 4 months. 

Another option to appeal a denied claim is by filing an appeal to the Board of Veterans Appeals. The wait times when filing an appeal to the Board are a bit more complex as Veterans have the ability to choose one of three review lanes when filing their appeal: 1. Direct Review docket; 2. Evidence Submission docket; or 3. the Hearing docket. Below is a chart published by the Board of Veterans Appeals regarding each review lane and their corresponding wait times:


If you need assistance in navigating the appeals process, please schedule a free consultation, so we may evaluate your case. 


Read more on the NJ Vet-Wire

Relevant pages: NJ Vet-WireVeterans Disability