When most Veterans think of their rating decision from the VA, they most likely believe they will either be approved or denied. This is logical because the VA is trying to determine if you’re disabled or not.
So, approved or denied are sensible assumptions for a decision. However, there is a third option that tends to create confusion. What happens when your VA disability decision is deferred?
Our firm represents thousands of Veterans. As a result, we see a lot of deferred decisions every week. The best advice we can give is to refrain from assuming a deferred decision is either good or bad.
It really just means that the decision is delayed. If the VA instead called it a delayed decision, there would likely be far less confusion. We know this subject is on the minds of many Vets because it’s been the hottest topic on our blog the past two months.
A Veteran who’s never filed before may wonder why the VA simply does not wait to make their decision. In most cases, a decision is deferred because a Veteran has filed multiple claims.
For instance, when you initially filed for benefits a year ago, you may have filed for service-connected tinnitus, PTSD, knee conditions, or bilateral hearing loss. The VA may have enough medical evidence to decide your claims, but they still need more evidence to decide if your conditions are service connected.
Rather than make you wait even longer for a decision, the VA will render a determination on the three claims with sufficient evidence, and wait on the fourth.
It’s important to remember the VA won’t do this if you’re only pursuing a single claim. If you were only filing for your back without any secondary conditions or additional disabilities, the VA wouldn’t need to defer your claim.
Normally there is not enough medical evidence for the VA to render a decision. So, maybe you have been doing a good job treating your PTSD, tinnitus, or hearing loss, but you haven’t been able to see a doctor for your knees. That is just one example of why your decision may be deferred.
That’s a great question, but there is no exact timeline for deferred decisions. It may only take a few months for the VA to render a decision, or it could take a year or more. It’s one of the reasons why it’s so important to seek consistent medical treatment for your conditions.
The length of time it takes the VA to render a decision once a claim is deferred depends on the information they need. If the VA only needs a small piece of evidence, like an X-ray, it won’t likely take as long as if they need a separate medical opinion, have scheduled a compensation and pension exam, or require several pieces of evidence.
We realize how frustrating the VA disability claims process can be, and we’ve experienced the long wait for over 10 years now. That’s why we know that a deferred decision is no reason to panic.
Sometimes it helps to work with someone who has experienced the VA disability process before. If you’d like to know why thousands of Veterans nationwide have trusted us with their VA disability claims, call us today for a free consultation.