Retroactive Benefits

Veterans regularly call Bergmann & Moore and ask questions about retroactive payments, commonly called “retro” or “back pay.”

The bottom line up front: When the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) sends you a Rating Decision, you should carefully review it to make sure VA sets the correct effective date for your disability benefits.

Effective Date

The effective date of your claim is important because it sets the start date of when VA begins paying disability compensation or pension. As a general guideline, the effective date is usually the date a claim was filed.

For example, in most cases, if you filed your claim on January 1, 2017, and VA granted your claim on August 5, 2017, your effective date would usually be January 1, 2017. Therefore, VA would be required to pay retroactive benefits for the period between January and August and then make monthly payments thereafter based on your percentage rating and dependents.

Effective Date Exceptions

However, in other situations, there are complex rules and exceptions for VA effective dates. Because VA claims processors are sometimes rushed or not well trained, VA often makes errors when setting the effective date. Bergmann & Moore often reviews VA Rating Decisions where the Veteran may be entitled to an effective date that is earlier than the one VA is proposing, which could result in significantly more retroactive compensation.  

The effective date VA assigns can be appealed, but specific time limits depend on the decision. Therefore, you need to seek professional assistance immediately if you believe VA made a mistake in setting your effective date.

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Disclaimer: This information is not legal advice. Using this information, understand that there is no attorney-client relationship created by reading or using the information on this website.​