Filing Disability Claim Prior to Active Duty Release

Filing Disability Claim Prior to Active Duty Release

If you are a service member with a disabling condition, it may be advantageous to file a claim for disability benefits before you are released from active duty. For service members interested in filing a claim before leaving active duty, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides several options.

Filing Before Leaving Active Duty

By submitting a disability compensation claim before separation, retirement, or release from active duty or demobilization, a service member can shorten the processing time for his or her claim. There are three ways in which to apply:

  1. Benefits Delivery at Discharge (BDD): filed 60-180 days prior to separation and available to service members nationwide
  2. Quick Start: filed 1-59 days before separation and available to service members nationwide
  3. Overseas Intake Sites: filed within 180 days prior to separation and available to service members stationed in select military installations in Germany and South Korea.

The goal for claims made through BDD is for the service member to obtain his or her benefits within 60 days after release or discharge. This requires at least 60 days to complete the medical examination process prior to separation from service. Additionally, in order to complete the medical examination process, it may be necessary to visit multiple specialty clinics. BDD claims are available to all service members on full-time active duty, including National Guard and Reserve members, as well as the Coast Guard.

Claims made under Quick Start allow for benefits to be recovered as soon as possible. It is intended for service members with 1-59 days left before release from active duty or those who do not meet the requirements to apply through BDD. Quick Start is intended for National Guard and Reserve members.

For certain service members, claims can be made through two Overseas Intake Sites. The BDD office in Landstuhl, Germany accepts pre-discharge claims from active duty members stationed in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. The service member must be within 180 days of separation or retirement and be able to undergo all necessary examinations at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC).

Service members stationed within the Kaiserslautern Military Community (KMC) can visit the LRMC to begin the application process. For service members located outside of the KMC, the application process can be initiated through the “fly-in” claim process, which reduces travel by allowing submission of materials through e-mail or fax. Similarly, claims can be made at various locations throughout South Korea, as long as the service member is able to undergo all examinations in Korea.

Through the use of Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) Examination Templates, the Departments of Defense (DoD) and the VA work together to determine whether a service member is fit for duty. In cases where the service member is found medically unfit, the IDES can give the service member a proposed disability rating prior to their discharge from service.

Helping Service Members

For more information about the disability compensation available to service members and veterans, speak with an experienced disabilities law attorney today. At the Klok Law Firm LLC, we are proud to use our knowledge and ability in helping our nation’s service members obtain often much-needed benefits. We look forward to hearing from you.

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