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.

Posted
AuthorBruce Bebow