VA Disability Back Pay Calculator
The button below will take you to the calculator. By clicking the button below, you acknowledge that this calculator is meant to be an estimation of your possible retro benefits. By no means is this program meant to produce an exact amount of your benefits.
What is VA Disability back pay?
Typically, The Department of Veterans Affairs pays a military service veteran beginning on the date that the veteran filed a claim. Most of the time, that is months or years before the veteran’s claim is approved. Once the veteran’s claim is approved, they receive their new rate every month going forward. But the VA must also pay back pay—the retro payment—to the date of the claim.
How VA decides effective dates for back pay
Retro benefits are tied to the effective date of the claim. The rule is that the effective date is typically the date the veteran files the current claim. Sometimes a veteran’s retro benefits do not go back all the way to the start of the claim. In these cases, it is important to review the evidence listed in the decision. The VA may be using an incorrect exam or medical record as the date the problem started or getting worse.
A lot of times the retro benefits decision can be appealed. The benefits should go back to the date of the claim. The veteran may have an entitlement to retroactive benefits because the problem did not start when the veteran went to the VA exam for the problem—it started when the veteran filed the claim.
Logically, the reason that a military veteran is filing for VA disability compensation is that the medical issue already existed due to active service or the medical issue has begun to impact their attendance at work or ability to perform daily tasks.
There are multiple ways to get the effective date, and retro benefits, backdated before the current compensation claim. If a veteran had previously filed for compensation benefits on the same issue then there are exceptions that can get the veteran retro benefits back years, decades even for some service members.
These exceptions can get technical though. You need to review the full C file to see when the VA had what evidence. Doing this detective work can be the difference between a $500 retro payment and a $50,000 retro payment!
How does VA calculate back pay?
Retro back pay VA benefits can be difficult to calculate if there are changes from the date of the retro payment to the date of the rating decision. There are multiple factors that come into play that can directly impact the payment amount such as:
- Did the veteran already have a VA rating or a combined rating?
- How far back does the condition go?
- Did the veteran have a change in the number of dependents (dependent parents included) or veterans benefits eligibility?
If a veteran is already rated, to accurately estimate retro benefits vets have to calculate the difference between what he or she was paid and what he or she should have been paid. For example, if the veteran was paid at 50% for PTSD or exposure to Agent Orange before this decision and now they will be paid at 70% plus individual unemployability for PTSD, then their retroactive VA disability pay will be the difference between the two going back to the effective date.
It is common for a veteran’s dependent status to change throughout the history of the veteran’s claim. The veteran might have a child, their marital status may change, or a current dependent child might grow old enough to no longer be dependent in the veteran’s care. Furthermore, that veteran might get married or divorced during the time of the claim. Finally, there are typically cost of living changes (COLA) made every year adjusting the amount the VA pays. These changes could be a few dollars to a hundred dollars per month. All of these issues play into a veteran’s retro payment. Not accounting for them can cost the veteran hundreds or even thousands of dollars in backlog retro benefits.
Is VA Disability back pay paid in a lump sum?
Yes. The lump sum payment for benefits that have been accumulating since the filing of a granted claim is known as back pay or retroactive compensation. After the receipt of benefits, retroactive payments come in a single amount, typically in one payment at once.
How long does VA take for back pay?
You have received an award for retro or VA back pay and you want to know how long it will take for the VA to pay you your disability benefits. Well, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, once a veteran receives a rating of 10% or more, they will receive a payment within 15 days of the grant of their disability claim.
However, this is not always the case. Oftentimes, the start date for your VA disability back pay is held up for several months delaying the lump sum payment or monthly payment. The VA can hold up payment on disability compensation due to several issues:
- Being unable to find the veteran – make sure they have your current address and banking information for direct deposit. The VA uses existing information they have on file, which may not always be your current address or banking info.
- If a veteran requires a fiduciary – if a Veteran has been found incompetent to handle their funds, they will have to find a person to do so before their award is issued.
- If the veteran received severance, disability, or retirement pay during the effective time of the retroactive disability pay, or for the same condition they were medically discharged from active duty service for, the VA will have to calculate and deduct those payments from the amount of back pay.
- If the Veteran’s disability rating is stagered or received different rating levels at different times, then the VA will have to calculate the different ratings for each time frame to get a total award which will take a little longer.
- The earlier the effective date, the longer the award will take due to the changes in the amount of each rating level payment for different years due to annual COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) raises. A 10% rating is worth $101 in 2020 but was $98 in 1999, so the VA has to account for those differences.
Hopefully, every disabled veteran will get their back pay for VA benefits as soon as possible, but if you know ahead of time that any of the above issues may be a factor after your VA Disability claim, be prepared for possibly waiting longer than the VA’s 15 days for disability payments.
Start VA Back Pay / Retro Calculator
The button below will take you to the calculator. By clicking the button below, you acknowledge that this calculator is meant to be an estimation of your possible retro benefits. By no means is this program meant to produce an exact amount of your VA disability benefits or your exact VA disability rating, compensation rates may vary slightly from case to case