Your claim can go from any step to back a step depending on the specifics of the claim, so you may go from Pending Decision Approval back to Review of Evidence. e-Benefits status is helpful but not definitive.
VA.gov Stages of a Claim
There are eight distinct steps that most claims for disability compensation follow. These phases may vary in time depending on the complexity of the claim, the amount of evidence that must be gathered to support the claims, and the type of evidence. You are strongly encouraged to submit as much evidence as possible with your claim to help minimize processing time. The eight steps of claims processing are as follows:
- Claim Received
Your claim has been received by the Veterans Affairs. If you applied online with VONAPP Direct Connect, you should see receipt in your list of Open Claims within one hour. If you applied through the U.S. mail, please allow mailing time plus one week for us to process and record receipt of your claim.
- Under Review
Your claim has been assigned to a Veterans Service Representative and is being reviewed to determine if additional evidence is needed. If we do not need any additional information, your claim will move directly to the Preparation for the Decision phase. Read More about Under Review from the VA Disability Claims Forum
- Gathering of Evidence
The Veterans Service Representative will request evidence from the required sources. Requests for evidence may be made of you, a medical professional, a government agency, or another authority. It is common for claims to return to this phase, should additional evidence be required. Preparation for Decision phase. Read More about Gathering of Evidence from the VA Disability Claims Forum
- Review of Evidence
We have received all the needed evidence. If upon review, it is determined that more evidence is required, the claim will be sent back to the review of Evidence phase. Read More about Review of Evidence from the VA Disability Claims Forum
- Preparation for Decision
The Veterans Service Representative has recommended a decision and is preparing required documents detailing that decision. If more evidence is required, the claim will be sent back in the process for more information or evidence. Read More about Preparation for Decision from the VA Disability Claims Forum
- Pending Decision Approval
The recommended decision is reviewed, and a final award approval is made. If it is determined that more evidence or information is required, the claim will be sent back in the process for more information or evidence. Read More About Pending Decision Approval form the VA Disability Claims Forum
- Preparation for Notification
Your entire claim decision packet is prepared for mailing. Preparation for Decision phase. Read More about Preparation for Notification from the VA Disability Claims Forum
The VA has sent a decision packet to you by U.S. mail. The packet includes details of the decision or award. Please allow standard mailing time for your packet to arrive before contacting a VA call center. Preparation for Decision phase. Read More about Complete from the VA Disability Claims Forum
“3 Phases of Claim Status” meaning in e-Benefits?
The 3 phases in the claims process are:
- Development – This is the initial part of the claims process. The claimant is provided information as to what information is needed for the claim and an opportunity to provide or identify any additional evidence to support the claim. All appropriate evidence is gathered and reviewed.
- Decision – All information and evidence are carefully reviewed to ensure we have everything we need to make an informed decision on the claim. If something is missing, the claim returns to the development phase to obtain that missing information. If all the needed evidence is received, a proposed decision will be made.
- Notification – Once the decision is reviewed carefully and approved, a notification letter is sent to the claimant.
How Long Will This Process Take?
It depends and too long – that being said, the length of time it takes to complete a claim depends on several factors, such as the type of claim filed, complexity of your disability(ies), the number of disabilities you claim, and the availability of evidence needed to decide your claim.
The number you see is the average processing days to complete a claim that requires a disability rating. The average is based on completed claims since October 1 in a given fiscal year.