You likely know that you are entitled to seek VA disability benefits for a service-connected injury or illness that impairs your ability to work. What you might not realize is that you do not have to wait until you have been discharged before starting your claim. With the VA’s Benefits Delivery at Discharge (BDD) program,
The program is not right for all servicemembers, and there may be other options available to start the claim application process before you separate from the service. Taking advantage of the BDD program or other programs can assist you in making the transition to civilian life as a servicemember with a disability with little disruption to your income.
Additionally, you retain all of the appeals rights you have under the traditional VA disability claims process if your BDD claim is denied.
How BDD Works in a Nutshell
The BDD program is for certain veterans who are close to separating form the service and who will leave the service with an injury or condition they sustained during their time in service. Veterans who are eligible to participate must:
- Be on full-time active duty, including members of the Reserve, National Guard, and Coast Guard
- Have a definite separation date that is no more than 180 days away and no closer than 90 days away
- Be available for 45 days after submitting their BDD claim to attend VA exams
- Submit copies of your current service treatment records and other required paperwork
If your BDD claim is approved, you will begin to receive your disability compensation immediately upon your discharge from the service.
There are certain servicemembers who are not eligible to participate in the BDD program. This group includes veterans who have a terminal illness, whose separation date is less than 90 days in the future, and those whose Character of Discharge has not been determined. These veterans will need to file a traditional claim or explore other options.
What You Can Do If Your BDD Claim is Denied
Just like a traditional VA disability claim, just because you apply for benefits through the BDD program does not mean your claim will be approved. If the VA denies your claim, you can appeal that denial just as you would appeal the denial of a traditional claim. While you might not receive benefits immediately upon discharge, you could be entitled to retroactive benefits back to the date of discharge once your claim is approved.
Speak with a Cincinnati Veterans Law Attorney Today
When it comes to your disability benefits, do not gamble with your family’s financial security. If you are eligible to apply for benefits prior to separation, there is a benefit to doing so. Should your claim be denied, trust that Veterans Law Attorneys and our experienced and helpful team will be here to assist you in appealing the denial.
You can reach us at Veterans Law Attorneys at (866) 894-9773. If you prefer, you can also complete our online contact form and get in touch with us in this manner.