Claiming What’s Rightfully Yours: Addressing Errors in Your VA Disability Effective Date

Getting the correct effective date is crucial to maximizing your disability benefits. They helped countless veterans appeal effective dates, especially when new evidence shows clear and unmistakable error (CUE).

Your effective date is when you first became eligible for disability compensation. If you have an incorrect effective date, it could cost you back pay or delay your monthly benefits.

Errors in the Effective Date

Securing the earliest effective date can be essential for getting back pay, which could make a big difference in a veteran’s financial security. This may require submitting new evidence or appealing a decision. It also involves identifying and correcting VA errors in the application process or the analysis of evidence. In some cases, it is best to seek the help of experienced legal counsel in addressing these matters. 

If you recently discovered and asked yourself if my VA disability effective date is wrong, contact the VA to rectify the error and ensure accurate compensation for your service-related conditions. For example, suppose you have a presumptive service connection for a disability and file a claim within one year of your discharge from military service. In that case, your effective date should be the day after you leave the military. Suppose the VA receives a claim for service connection after that date but before the change in law that liberalized the entitlement to presumptive service connection. In that case, the effective date should be when you filed your original application. When a veteran submits new and material evidence during the appeals period following an initial rating decision, the effective date should generally be changed to reflect the date of that evidence.

Getting an Early Effective Date

Getting an early effective date is one of the most important aspects of a Veteran’s disability claim. It determines how much money they can receive. It can also affect other types of benefits that the Veteran may be eligible for, such as survivor benefits, pensions, state property tax exemptions, etc.

If a Veteran is granted service connection for an illness or injury, the VA must determine their effective date from either the date they first applied or when entitlement arose. However, this often doesn’t seem right. If the VA receives new evidence, such as records forwarded by the Department of Defense or declassified military records, after a previous decision has been made on a claim, they are required to reconsider.

This is called new and material evidence. Generally, this is done by filing an appeal with the help of a Veteran’s lawyer. However, it can also be accomplished through a request for a higher-level review.

Getting a Late Effective Date

The VA assigns an effective date to every disability claim, which can have significant financial implications. The effective date determines when back pay is awarded.

There are several ways to get a new, earlier effective date. These include submitting new and material evidence during the one-year appeal period, correcting a clear and unmistakable error (CUE), or qualifying under special rules like presumptive service connection.

CUE claims are rare, but they can successfully change the effective date. This occurs when the VA makes a mistake that would have changed the outcome of the case, such as not considering all of the evidence available when they reviewed your claim.

The VA must review the claim and change the effective date if they realize their mistake. This is usually done through the higher-level review lane and involves requesting a senior VA claims adjudicator to review your case. This can be very beneficial for a Veteran, mainly if it results in an earlier effective date.

Appealing an Effective Date

Effective date rules are complicated, but there are several ways to address errors in your VA disability effective date. These include submitting new and relevant evidence and filing a supplemental claim for benefits such as TDIU (total disability based on individual unemployability).

If you file a claim to increase your rating, the effective date should be the day your symptoms worsened, provided that the evidence supports such an early date. But, this rule can be complicated to navigate, and errors are common.

When addressing errors in your effective date, the best strategy is to appeal unfavorable decisions within the appropriate period. We have successfully helped many clients secure an earlier effective date through this process, including through a motion for clear and unmistakable error, or CUE. To learn more, contact the law firm for a free case evaluation. They can help you make sense of your effective date and get the benefits you deserve.