In this post, I share 3 tips to speed up your VA disability claim, especially if you’re pondering the why is my “VA claim stuck on gathering evidence” question, and now you’re wondering what to do next.
First things first, let’s talk about the VA claim process to set expectations.
Generally, the VA will follow an 8-step process from the time you submit your VA claim all the way through your final VA rating decision.
Here are some timelines you can expect throughout the process.
- 2021 Average VA Claim Timelines
- VA Claim Stuck Tip #1: Check the Current Status of Your VA Disability Claim
- VA Claim Stuck On Gathering Evidence Tip #2: Call the VA Hotline at 1-800-827-1000 and Speak to a Representative
- How to Speed Up VA Claim Tip #3: Be Patient and Stop Uploading Evidence in Support of Your Claim
- About The Author
2021 Average VA Claim Timelines
- STEP #1: Claim Received: Normally takes between 7 and 14 days
- STEP #2: Under Review: This step typically takes 7 to 21 days
- STEP #3: Gathering of Evidence: This step is the longest phase in the VA claim process and usually takes 30-60 days
- STEP #4: Review of Evidence: Takes 7 to 14 days on average
- STEP #5: Preparation for Decision: This step typically takes 7-14 days to complete
- STEP #6: Pending Decision Approval: 7 to 14 days
- STEP #7: Preparation for Notification: 7 to 14 days
- STEP #8: Decision Notification Sent: The final step in the VA claim process takes 7-10 days
Your VA disability claim will likely take 90 to 120 days from submission to rating decision although it could take longer if the VA needs to track down important evidence on your behalf.
According to the VBA’s detailed claims data, the current VA claim timeline average from submission to award is ~118 days.
Step #3 of the 8-step VA claim process is “Gathering of Evidence” and is typically the longest step in the process and takes between 30 and 60 days.
You might see your claim move back-and-forth between various steps—don’t panic—this is completely normal!
Now, if you think your VA claim is stuck on the Gathering of Evidence phase, here’s 3 tips you can take to speed things up.
VA Claim Stuck Tip #1: Check the Current Status of Your VA Disability Claim
Truth is your VA claim might be progressing on-time even if it feels like it’s stuck in the Gathering of Evidence phase.
If it’s been 30-60 days, you can login to your VA.gov account to see what phase you’re actually in.
You can check the current status of your VA claim HERE.
Once you’re signed in, simply follow these three steps to check the status of your VA claim or appeal:
- Click Your “My VA” Dashboard
You’ll find the link to your “My VA” Dashboard in the top right corner of the page once you’re signed in.
- Scroll Down to the “Track Claims” Section
You’ll see a summary of the latest status information for any open claims or appeals you have.
- Click the “View Status” Button for a Specific Claim
You’ll go to a page with more details about that claim’s status and supporting evidence. Evidence may include documents like a doctor’s report, notes, medical test results, or any other evidence you’ve uploaded.
VA Claim Stuck On Gathering Evidence Tip #2: Call the VA Hotline at 1-800-827-1000 and Speak to a Representative
Pick-up the phone and call the VA hotline at 1-800-827-1000.
VA representatives (many who are fellow disabled veterans) are available to speak with you Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. eastern time.
Select the option to speak with a representative and ask him/her about the status of your VA claim.
Ask the representative to put a note in your VA claim file to the VA Regional Office in your state and that you’re frustrated with how long your claim is taking and you want it to move along faster.
A funny thing happens when you do this; your VA disability claim suddenly gets moving again!
How to Speed Up VA Claim Tip #3: Be Patient and Stop Uploading Evidence in Support of Your Claim
It’s really hard to be patient when you’re going through the VA disability process—I get it.
I realize you’re probably checking on the status of your claim daily.
Here’s a message for you: Slow down, take a breath, and do your best to be patient.
The VA has your claim and they’re working it, along with many others, on a first-in, first-out basis.
The good news is you don’t have to wait years anymore; you’ll probably get a rating decision within 120 calendar days or less from submission.
Can I Submit More Evidence After VA Claim Submission?
While you can submit additional evidence after claim submission, there’s a time and a place to STOP.
Here’s my recommendation and litmus test:
- If you’ve already had your C&P exams—stop uploading additional evidence, unless it’s a rebuttal to a bad exam and you’re requesting a new one.
- If you have medical evidence that you think would help the VA rater make a better rating decision, such as a new VA or private medical report, a new DBQ, or a new Nexus Letter to support your claim that you didn’t previously upload, go ahead and upload it, especially if it’s before you’ve had your C&P exams.
It’s important to understand that when you upload additional evidence after submission of your VA claim, it forces the Veteran Service Representative (VSR) to review it, which can slow down the process.
For example, let’s say the Rating Veteran Service Representative (RVSR) is already looking at your claim.
If you upload additional evidence, the RVSR will send your claim back to the VSR for further development.
Should I Click the “Ask the VA to Decide My Claim” Button?
Yes, if you’re done uploading evidence.
After you’ve submitted your VA claim, you have the option to click a button inside your VA.gov account that says, “Ask the VA to Decide My Claim.”
When you click the button to ask the VA to decide your claim, it covers the 5103 Notice Acknowledgement and notifies the VA that the Veteran is not submitting anymore evidence.
It can potentially speed up the claim process, but not by much, since a lot of the process depends on the C&P exam.
When you click the button, there is no notification to the VA Rater, however, it does place your VA claim in the work queue, which happens first in first out by the VSR/RVSR.
What is the Timeline From C&P Exam to Decision?
Presently, you can expect a VA rating decision roughly 2 to 4 weeks after your final C&P exam.
If it’s been longer than 4 weeks, pick up the phone and call the VA hotline at 1-800-827-1000.
About The Author
Founder & CEO
His frustration with the 8-step VA disability claims process led him to create “VA Claims Insider,” which provides U.S. military veterans with tips, strategies, and lessons learned for successfully submitting or re-submitting a winning VA disability compensation claim.
Brian is also the CEO of Military Disability Made Easy, which is the world’s largest free searchable database for all things related to DoD disability and VA disability claims and has served more than 4,600,000 military members and veterans since its founding in 2013.
His eBook, the “9 Secrets Strategies for Winning Your VA Disability Claim” has been downloaded more than 300,000 times in the past three years and is the #1 rated free VA disability claims guide for veterans.
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).