VA Disability Back Pay

Christian Worstell
In this article...
  • VA disability back pay is owed disability compensation to veterans, usually paid out in a lump sum. Find out more about it in this article from HelpAdvisor.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs pays disability benefits to American veterans, who rely on them to financially support their health and well-being. Sometimes, the process involved in filing a claim and getting it approved can take a long time, and that's why understanding how VA disability back pay works can be helpful. Find out more about this topic below.

What Is VA Disability Back Pay?

VA disability back pay refers to any money that's owed to a veteran once their application for compensation has been approved. This allows the veteran to be paid for all benefits that accrued while they were waiting for their application to be approved. Back pay usually goes back to the date the claim was initially submitted and lasts until the application approval date.

In general, the longer it takes for the VA to approve a veteran's disability claim, the more money they will be owed, assuming the application is approved.

How VA Disability Back Pay Works

Once the VA has calculated the back pay amount, it's usually paid in one lump sum. All future disability pay after that date is paid out monthly. Money may be received through direct deposit into a bank account or via a paper check.

How the effective date is determined can be confusing and may depend on the veteran's specific situation. If, for example, the VA believes the disability is directly related or was made worse by military service, the VA may consider the effective date to be when the injury or medical condition occurred — provided you apply for disability compensation within a year of being discharged.

How VA Disability Back Pay Is Calculated

The total amount of monthly disability a veteran receives is entirely unique to their situation — there is no one set amount that everyone receives. A few factors determine how much you can expect, and they are:

  • Effective Date: When you applied for benefits or when you received an injury or medical condition
  • VA Disability Rating: The VA uses a disability ratings system to determine the extent of your disability and whether or not you qualify to receive benefits.

Benefits are paid out to veterans who have a disability rating of at least 10%. If you receive a rating lower than that, it means the VA acknowledges you have a disability, but that it's not severe enough for you to receive benefits. 

However, even if you receive a rating between 0-9%, if your medical condition ever worsens, your claim paperwork is in place, so you can refile for benefits at that time.

Christian Worstell
About the Author

Christian Worstell is a senior Medicare and health insurance writer with He is also a licensed health insurance agent. Christian is well-known in the insurance industry for the thousands of educational articles he’s written, helping Americans better understand their health insurance and Medicare coverage.

Christian’s work as a Medicare expert has appeared in several top-tier and trade news outlets including Forbes, MarketWatch, WebMD and Yahoo! Finance.

While at HelpAdvisor, Christian has written hundreds of articles that teach Medicare beneficiaries the best practices for navigating Medicare. His articles are read by thousands of older Americans each month. By better understanding their health care coverage, readers may hopefully learn how to limit their out-of-pocket Medicare spending and access quality medical care.

Christian’s passion for his role stems from his desire to make a difference in the senior community. He strongly believes that the more beneficiaries know about their Medicare coverage, the better their overall health and wellness is as a result.

A current resident of Raleigh, Christian is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. You can find Christian’s most recent articles in our blog.

If you’re a member of the media looking to connect with Christian, please don’t hesitate to email our public relations team at

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