Intent to file

Intent to File – VA Disability Compensation

What is an Intent to File and how is it different from a claim?

VA’s Intent to File (VA Form 21-0966) is a one-page form meant to notify VA that a claimant plans to file a formal claim for disability compensation within one year from the date submitted. If the formal claim is received within one year from the date of the Intent to File submission, it serves as a “placeholder” and allows for the possibility of retroactive benefits back to the date it’s submitted to VA.

An Intent to File is NOT an official claim for benefits and VA will not make any decisions based on it. If the official claim is not submitted to VA within one year from the date of the Intent to File, the claimant will lose any potential retroactive benefits.

A claimant may want to consider an Intent to File if:

  • You’ve been considering filing a claim for VA disability compensation but haven’t had the time to do so yet.
  • You are already planning to file a claim for disability benefits within the next year.
  • You want to retain a possible effective date for retroactive benefits while compiling additional information to be used in the development and adjudication of your claim.

Important information about the Intent to File:

The claimant has one year from the submission date to fully submit the claim.

If the claimant submits a second Intent to File within the one-year period from the initial Intent to File submission, the initial effective date will be cancelled out and the retroactive date will now be linked to the date of the second Intent to File submission, potentially losing months of compensation.

Example: If you submit an Intent to File form on 06/01/2023 and submit a second Intent to File form on 12/01/2023, your effective date will be changed to 12/01/2023, ultimately losing six months of retroactive benefits.

Where to submit a completed Intent to File form:

Via an eBenefits account:

  • Click Here
  • Once logged in, select initiate a claim.
  • Next complete the personal information page
  • Then hit save, you will see a page with your completed Intent to File with the date one year from the day you submitted. This date is your deadline to submit your completed claim.

– Via Mail:

Department of Veterans Affairs
Claims Intake Center
PO Box 4444
Janesville, WI 53547-4444

– Via Fax:

  • 844-531-7818



Have you been meaning to file your claim but do not know where to start? Find out more. 

Did you submit a claim, and are you waiting to hear back? Check the status of your claim.

Are you worried about your living situation while you wait for your claim to be processed? This page may help.

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