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 are VA disability retro benefits?
The Department of Veterans Affairs typically 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 wins. Once the veteran does win, they receive their 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
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 can be appealed because the benefits should go back to the date of the claim. The veteran may have 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 medical issue already exists and 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, back dated before the current 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. But doing this detective work can be the difference between a $500 retro payment and a $50,000 retro payment!
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 which can directly impact the payment amount.
- Did the veteran already have a rating or combined rating?
- How far back does the condition go?
- Did the veteran have a change in the number of dependents (dependent parents included) or eligibility?
Regarding a veteran already being rated, to accurately estimate retro benefits the veteran would have to calculate the difference between what he or she was paid and what he should have been paid. For example, if the veteran was paid at 50% for PTSD or even exposure to Agent Orange before this decision and now they will be 70% plus individual unemployability for PTSD then that person needs to realize that their retro benefits 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 a dependent in their 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 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 backlog retro benefits.
When Will I Get My VA Disability 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 their disability claim being granted. 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 for them 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 staged, 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 slightly vary from case to case.