It is to your advantage to submit your disability compensation claim prior to separation, retirement, or release from active duty. Processing times tend to be shorter for claims submitted pre-discharge than after discharge. Pre-discharge programs provide servicemembers with the opportunity to file claims for disability compensation up to 180 days prior to separation or retirement from active duty or full-time National Guard or Reserve duty (Titles 10 and 32).
If you're considering a pre-discharge claim, we encourage you to first contact the veteran service office closest to where you will be separating. The considerations of the military's Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) are quite different than those of the VA. Disability evaluation while in service is primarily determined by assessing potential barriers to worldwide deployment, as opposed to a full evaluation of any post-service lifestyle issues you may face due to a disability.
You can apply for disability compensation through one of the following:
- Benefits Delivery at Discharge (BDD) - BDD allows a servicemember to submit a claim for disability compensation 90 to 180 days prior to separation, retirement, or release from active duty. BDD can help you receive VA disability benefits sooner, with a goal of within 60 days after release or discharge.
- Quick Start - Quick Start allows a servicemember to submit a claim for disability compensation 1 to 59 days prior to separation, retirement, or release from active duty.
- Overseas Intake Sites – Only available at select military installations in Germany and Korea.