BDD VA Claim

Service members who want to receive disability benefits as quickly as possible after their separation can file Benefits Delivery at Discharge, or BDD. The BDD program allows veterans to avoid the often months-long wait for benefits after discharge. You must meet strict eligibility criteria for BDD and file all necessary documentation to avoid having your claim converted to a fully developed or standard disability claim. If you have questions, Veterans Guide can help.

Key Takeaways
  • The Benefits Delivery at Discharge (BDD) program allows service members to file for VA disability benefits before discharge, aiming to expedite the receipt of benefits.
  • Eligibility for BDD requires filing a claim between 180 and 90 days before separation, undergoing a VA examination, and meeting specific criteria.
  • If ineligible for BDD or filing late, options include a fully developed or standard disability claim, with the former potentially yielding quicker VA decisions.

Veterans who file disability claims after their service ends must often wait months for a final VA decision. If they disagree with that decision, they may have to wait months or even longer while their claim goes through the appeals process.

Benefits Delivery at Discharge, or BBD, offers a way to expedite the VA disability claims process. Service members must file a BDD claim between 180 and 90 days before their separation date, notifying the Department of Veterans Affairs that they are leaving the service with a disability and wish to collect VA compensation. 

If you are a service member with a service-related condition and are approaching the end of your time in the military, you may be eligible for BDD if you meet strict guidelines. However, if the VA accepts your claim, you will receive benefits faster than waiting to file after discharge.

What is Benefits Delivery at Discharge?

BDD VA claims are available to veterans who want to file for va disability benefits before discharge. The program can help speed up the claims process so that you can get your benefits sooner when you leave the military. One of the program’s benefits is that it is easier to establish a disability is service-connected when you undergo an examination while still serving.

You must file for BBD between 180 and 90 days before the date you are leaving the military. If you have less than 90 days before your discharge, you can still file a disability claim, but the VA won’t consider it a BBD claim eligible for priority processing. 

If you submit less than 90 days before your discharge, you have the following two options:

  1. Fully developed disability claim: Includes all of the evidence you have to help the VA assign a disability rating
  2. Standard disability claim: The VA gathers some of the evidence it needs to decide on your claim

With either of these claims, you are unlikely to receive benefits as quickly as you would with a BDD claim. Fully developed claims tend to get VA decisions quicker than standard claims because you have provided most, if not all, of the information the VA needs.

BDD infographic

You cannot add medical conditions to a BDD claim you’ve already submitted. If you do, your claim converts to a fully developed or standard disability claim.

Am I Eligible for the BDD Program?

You must meet several eligibility criteria to file a BDD VA claim, including:

  • You must have determined your separation date.
  • You must file your claim between 180 and 90 days before your separation.
  • You must provide copies of any treatment record.s
  • You must undergo a VA examination within 45 days of submitting your claim.

You are not eligible for the program if you don’t meet all of the above conditions or if:

  • Your case requires special treatment, such as if you are seriously injured or ill, have lost a body part, or are terminally ill.
  • You need a VA exam in a foreign country unless you can take one in Camp Humphreys, Korea, or Landstuhl, Germany.
  • You are awaiting discharge while hospitalized in a VA or military treatment facility.
  • You are pregnant.
  • You require a character of discharge determination.

If you are not eligible for BDD, you can still take steps to facilitate a quicker determination of your eventual claim. The faster you get your information to the VA, the quicker they can decide your claim.

In preparation for a BDD VA claim, get your Separation Health Assessment from your nearest military treatment facility. Note that the Department of Defense calls this a Separation History and Physical Examination for its purposes, while the VA calls it a Disability Exam. Before your assessment, complete DD Form 2807-1, Report of Medical History.

Your Separation Health Assessment will document your medical history, medical issues during your time in the military, and your current health status. During your assessment, your doctor will ask questions about your DD Form 2807-1 responses to check for consistency. Your answers become part of your record. 

Your doctor will also review your health status and history to decide if you need treatment or evaluations for any disability conditions. The DoD and the VA can access your assessment, so you won’t have to undergo another exam if you file a claim.

BDD VA Claim Process

The quickest way to get started on your BDD VA claim is to create an account and file online. This results in faster claims processing than other methods. Before you file your claim, be sure to have the following documentation:

  • Separation Health Assessment –  Part A, the self-assessment, is available on the VA website. 
  • Service treatment records 
  • Dental records
  • Mental health records, when applicable
  • Birth certificate, including those for your spouse and children
  • Direct deposit information
  • DD Form 214 Member-4 or Service-2 for all your service periods – You may also fill out VA Form 21-526 EZ, Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits.
  • Any other personnel records documenting the events, injuries, or illnesses that led to your service-related disability

You can get more information about the BDD VA claims process through the Transition Assistance Program where you are serving. They offer briefings and teach you how to start your claim. You can also call the VA toll-free number at 800-698-2411. To learn more about disability claims and other military life topics, you can also explore Military OneSource or Veterans Guide.

How Long Does a VA BDD Claim Take?

It is difficult to pinpoint an exact VA BDD timeline. According to the VA, service members with an accepted BBD claim can get a final VA disability rating upon discharge. However, in practice, there is a backlog of cases at the VA. Thus, things don’t happen as quickly as designed.  

One relatively certain thing is that if you don’t file a BDD claim at least 90 days before your separation, it will be longer before you start receiving disability benefits. According to the VA, the average time to resolve a claim in December 2023 was just over 150 days.

You do not have to do anything while you wait unless the VA asks for more information. If you don’t already have an account, you can create one to check on your VA claim, decision review, or appeal status.

Can I Appeal a BDD Claim?

You can appeal the decision if the VA denies your BDD disability claim or if you disagree with your final disability rating. Regardless of when you file, you will not receive a final decision and VA rating until after your separation date. One advantage of the BDD process is that you’ll already be at the appeals stage when you would otherwise be filing your initial claim.

If you decide to appeal, seek the help of an accredited VA attorney to advocate on your behalf. The appeals process is complex, and an experienced VA disability claims attorney can help you navigate it and fight for the benefits you deserve.

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