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March 29, 2024

How Long After Discharge Can I Apply for VA Disability? 

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want to learn how to implement these strategies to get the VA benefits you deserve, click here to speak with a VA claim expert for free.

A common question I hear veterans asking is, “Is it too late to file for VA disability?” 

Many veterans believe that they waited too long to file a claim and have missed their opportunity to collect VA benefits. 

This IS NOT true! 

But how long after discharge can I apply for VA disability? 

I will explain below. 👇 


How Long After Discharge Can I Apply for VA Disability?

There is no time limit on applying for VA benefits! 

Whether you left the military 1 year ago or 40 years ago, you can still file a VA claim for a disability you believe was caused or aggravated by your service. 

Post-Service Disability Claim

In fact, it’s extremely common for veterans to file for VA benefits years after discharge. The VA calls this a post-service disability claim, and they make up the vast majority of claims submitted to the VA. 


One Caveat 👀

There is one scenario when there is a time limit on applying for VA benefits. 

If you have any of the conditions below, then you could be automatically granted presumptive service connection if you apply for a VA rating within one year of discharge: 

  • High blood pressure (hypertension) 
  • Arthritis 
  • Diabetes 
  • Peptic ulcers 

These are only a few examples. You can see a complete list of conditions affected by this 1-year rule in the Code of Federal Regulations

Keep in mind that if you don’t apply within one year of discharge, you can still file a VA claim for any of the above conditions. You just won’t be automatically granted presumptive service connection, and it could be more difficult to win your claim. 


Is it Too Late to File for VA Disability?

No. It’s never too late to file for the VA disability benefits you deserve.

File Sooner Rather than Later 

Even though there isn’t a deadline for applying for VA benefits, it’s better to file sooner rather than later. 

This is because (according to the VA) the longer you wait, the more complicated your VA claim will likely become and the harder it could be to get ahold of your medical records. 

Filing for VA benefits ASAP also helps guarantee you have the earliest effective date possible. This is important when it comes to getting all the backpay you’re due.  

Read our blog Your VA Effective Date Explained! to learn more about VA effective dates. 

Even if you aren’t ready to submit a complete VA disability claim, you can still establish your effective date by submitting an intent to file


Take advantage of a FREE VA Claim Discovery Call with an experienced Team Member. Learn what you’ve been missing so you can FINALLY get the disability rating and compensation you’ve earned for your service.


Most veterans are underrated for their disabilities and, therefore, not getting their due compensation. 

At VA Claims Insider, we educate you on how to take control of the claims process so you may get the rating and compensation you’re owed by law. If you’ve filed your VA disability claim and have been denied or have received a low rating—or you’re unsure how to get started—reach out to us! 

Our process takes the guesswork out of filing a VA disability claim and supports you in building a fully developed claim (FDC)—so you may increase your rating FAST

Take advantage of a FREE VA Claim Discovery Call. Learn what you’ve been missing—so you can FINALLY get the disability rating and compensation YOU DESERVE! 

Phot of Clay Hutson

Clay Huston

Clay Huston is a former U.S. Army Reserves Blackhawk Pilot and officer. Clay enlisted in the Army in 2013 and was commissioned as a 2LT in 2017 after earning a business degree from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana.

Since separating from the military, Clay has pursued a career as a writer. He also runs the nonprofit, which fundraises for Children’s Homes in Mexico.

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