What are VA disability retro benefits?
VA typically pays a veteran from the date that he filed a claim. Most of the time that is months or years before the veteran wins. Once he does win he receives his new rate every month going forward. But the VA must also pay that back pay—the retro payment—to the date of the claim. To calculate an estimate of your retro benefits, click here.
How far back should retro benefits go?
Retro benefits are bound to the effective date of the claim. The rule is that the effective date is usually 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 to see if there was an exam or medical record that the VA is using as the date of the problem starting or getting worse. A lot of times this should be appealed because the benefits should go back to the date of the claim 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, which is why he filed in the first place!
There are multiple ways to get the effective date, and retro benefits, back before the current claim. If a veteran had previously filed on the same issue then there are exceptions that can get the veteran retro benefits back years, decades even. These exceptions can get technical though. You need to review the full C file to see when the VA had what evidence. But doing this detective work can be the difference between a $500 retro payment and a $50,000 retro payment!
How do you calculate retro benefits?
Retro 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 namely:
- Did the veteran already have a rating?
- How far back did it go?
- Did the veteran have a change in the number of dependents?
Regarding a veteran already being rated, to accurately estimate retro benefits the veteran would have to calculate the difference between what he was paid and what he should have been paid. So if the veteran was paid at 50% before this decision and now he will be 70% then he needs to realize that his retro benefits will be the difference between the two going back to the effective date. A veteran’s dependent status might change throughout the history of the veteran’s claim. He might have a child or a current dependent child might grow old enough to no longer be a dependent in his care. Furthermore, he 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 paid at each rate. 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 retro benefits.
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
On this date, what percentage should the VA have been paying you?
On this date, how many dependent children did you have who were under the age of 18?
On this date, what was your marital status?
At this time, did your spouse require Aid and Attendance(A/A)?
On this date, what disability percentage was used to determine your payment?
On this date, how many dependent children did you have who were between the ages of 18 and 24?
On this date, how many dependent parents did you have?
Record a Change
If any of the above information changed through this retro payment period then click the button below, choose the date of the change and fill in the information. You may enter as many changes as needed and you can enter them in any order you want. Examples of changes could be if your rating changed through the years (i.e. it you were granted 50% from the original date and then it was raised to 70% a couple years later) or your marriage status or number of dependents changed.
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