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March 29, 2024

How Long Does a VA Supplemental Claim Take?

Last updated on March 30, 2024

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.

In 2024, the average time for a VA Supplemental Claim is 5-6 months from start to finish.

The VA’s “goal” is to decide a Supplemental Claim in 125 days, but that’s not the reality right now.

Here’s a quick breakdown of timelines by various appeal option:

  • Board Appeals are the slowest appeal option with a Direct Review taking around 1 year, Evidence Submission around 1.5 years, and Hearings at 2 years minimum.

Summary of Key Points

  • VA Supplemental Claims are the fastest appeal option right now and take 5-6 months for a decision.
  • You can file a Supplemental Claim on a previous claim denial at any time.
  • There is no published success rate for Supplemental Claims; however, Brian Reese the VA Claims Insider estimates a 50% success rate if you submit new and relevant evidence not previously considered.

How Long Does a Supplemental Claim Take?

The current timeframe for VA Supplemental Claim decisions is approximately 5-6 months (150-180 days) from start to finish.

Although the VA has set a target of 125 days for the Supplemental Claim process, this published goal does not reflect ground truth.

Keep in mind that your Supplemental Claim could be faster or slower depending on the unique circumstances of your case.

Why Are Supplemental Claims Taking Longer?

The main reason VA Supplemental Claims are taking longer right now is due to workload.

There are nearly 1M pending claims and 350K backlogged claims; some of these claim decisions will lead to Supplemental Claim filings.

Even though all VBA offices process Supplemental Claims, this is close to a 10-year high workload for VA claims adjudicators—yes, they’re behind right now.

Click here to view the most current VA claims data.

When Can I File a Supplemental Claim?

Any previously denied claim that’s being re-opened with new and relevant evidence is a Supplemental Claim.

You can file a Supplemental Claim on a prior claim denial at any time—there is no timeframe restriction.

What is the VA Supplemental Claim Timeline?

A Supplemental Claim allows a veteran to submit new and relevant evidence that was not considered in their original claim.

Here’s a general overview of the VA Supplemental Claim steps:

Step #1. Submission of Supplemental Claim

A veteran or their representative submits a Supplemental Claim using VA Form 20-0995, along with new and relevant evidence that was not included in the initial claim. You can submit a Supplemental Claim online, by mail, or in-person.

Step #2. Evidence Review

The VA reviews the Supplemental Claim and the new evidence provided. This step involves evaluating the additional evidence to see if it changes the VA’s original decision. The VA may also gather additional evidence on its own, if necessary.

Step #3. Claim Decision

The VA issues a decision on the Supplemental Claim. If the decision is favorable, the VA will determine the effective date for the benefits. If the Supplemental Claim was filed within 12 months from the previous decision then the original effective date should stand. If the decision is not favorable, the veteran can choose to appeal further.

VA Supplemental Claim Tips

Submitting a VA Supplemental Claim is an important step for veterans seeking to have their benefits decision reconsidered based on new and relevant evidence.

Here’s 9 tips to help you prepare for your VA Supplemental Claim:

Tip #1. Understand What “New and Relevant Evidence” Means:

  • New Evidence: This is evidence that the VA has not previously considered in connection with the specific claim. For example, submitting a new Nexus Letter would be considered “new” evidence not previously considered.
  • Relevant Evidence: This is evidence that could substantiate the claim by proving or disproving something regarding the case. The same Nexus Letter highlighted above would be “relevant” if it’s directly related to your case. For example, your mental health condition was denied because you didn’t show a link or connection to your military service. However, your new Nexus Letter explains how your PTSD was directly caused by your deployment to Iraq and the stressor events you were exposed to where you feared for your life.

Tip #2. Gather Comprehensive Evidence:

Collect all pertinent medical records, service records, and any other documentation that supports your claim. This could include new medical diagnoses, treatment records, or expert opinions that were not available during your initial claim.

Tip #3. Seek Independent Medical Opinions:

Consider getting an independent medical opinion to support your claim. An expert opinion can provide a direct link between your service and the condition for which you are claiming benefits. This is critical to help you prove service connection with a previously denied VA claim.

Tip #4. Clearly State Why the Evidence is Relevant:

When submitting your Supplemental Claim, clearly explain why the new evidence is relevant and how it supports your case. This helps the VA understand the significance of the evidence and how it impacts your claim.

Tip #5. Be Specific About What You’re Contesting:

Clearly identify the specific aspects of the VA’s decision that you believe were incorrect and are now contesting with new evidence. This helps focus the review on the most pertinent parts of your claim.

Tip #6. Stay Organized:

Keep a detailed record of all communications with the VA, including copies of your Supplemental Claim, all submitted evidence, and any correspondence. This will help you track your claim’s progress and ensure nothing is overlooked.

Tip #7. Follow Up:

After submitting your Supplemental Claim, keep in touch with the VA regarding the status of your claim. This will help you stay informed and ensure that your claim is being processed. You can always check your Supplemental Claim status online or by phone at 1-800-827-1000.

Tip #8. Prepare for All Outcomes:

Understand the next steps if your Supplemental Claim is not decided in your favor. You can always request a Higher Level Review of the Supplemental Claim decision. You can also request a Board Appeal if you want a Veterans Law Judge to review your case. Finally, you can also file another Supplemental Claim if you have more new and relevant evidence to submit.

Tip #9. Utilize VA-Accredited Representatives

Consider working with a VA-accredited agent, attorney, or VSO. These professionals can provide valuable assistance in preparing your Supplemental Claim, gathering evidence, and navigating the appeals process. Click here to search and find accredited representation.

What is the VA Supplemental Claim Success Rate?

The VA does not publish success rates for Supplemental Claims, so the exact number is not known.

However, in my experience, I’d estimate a 50% success rate if you submit new and relevant evidence not previously considered.

That means one in two veterans will get a successful VA higher level review decision.

About the Author

Brian Reese
Brian Reese

Brian Reese

Brian Reese is one of the top VA disability benefits experts in the world and bestselling author of You Deserve It: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Veteran Benefits You’ve Earned (Second Edition).

Brian’s frustration with the VA claim process led him to create VA Claims Insider, which provides disabled veterans with tips, strategies, and lessons learned to win their VA disability compensation claim, faster, even if they’ve already filed, been denied, gave up, or don’t know where to start. 

As the founder of VA Claims Insider and CEO of Military Disability Made Easy, he has helped serve more than 10 million military members and veterans since 2013 through free online educational resources.

He is a former active duty Air Force officer with extensive experience leading hundreds of individuals and multi-functional teams in challenging international environments, including a combat tour to Afghanistan in 2011 supporting Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

Brian is a Distinguished Graduate of Management from the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO, and he holds an MBA from Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business, Stillwater, OK, where he was a National Honor Scholar (Top 1% of Graduate School class).

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