Effective dates?


Thank you for your service. During my Naval service I was blown off ship and fell 40' on to a metal barge. Suffered numerous injuries. Naval medical treatment was subpar. Prior to discharge Navy offered an approximate 18% service connection if I remained active for18 more weeks for "observation" I declined to remain active. Approx. 6 months after Honorable discharge visited VA office, provided them info regarding my disabling condition as result of Naval service and requested assistance. They claimed because I had no service connected disability they could not help. Approx. 13 years later found this to be inaccurate and filed a VA claim. VA approved 100% P/T service connection from date of filed claim. Have since learned as result of my earlier visit to the VA requesting assistance they should have backdated my claim to discharge. If accurate that would be approx. 13 years of back compensation. Wondering if the VA is obligated to backdate my service connection compensation to date of discharge?


Jim's Reply:

When we file a claim the VBA will adjudicate it with the evidence they have available at the time of that claim. If a claim is denied the veteran has one year from the date of the denial to appeal and keep the claim 'alive'. 

If a timely (one year) appeal doesn't happen the claim is considered permanently closed. If you wish to open the claim again you must file a new claim and present evidence that hasn't been seen before and is relevant to your claim...'new and material' evidence is the way VBA phrases it. That will set a new effective date from which any new claim benefits will be paid.

I don't know who you may have visited with at a VA facility but the info you received simply wasn't accurate. However, unless you acted at the moment by filing appeals, etc., that opportunity is gone. Misinformation is our greatest foe and there's a lot of it spread around. Unfortunately it's a real 'let the buyer beware' situation and you have to decipher the rumor from the reality for yourself.

In the end, your claim could have been dated to your discharge date had you appealed and appealed again if necessary keeping the claim alive. The original thread can't be broken or we get sent all the way back to start.