The First Step: Initiating Your VA Disability Compensation Claim

Beginning the process of a VA Disability Claim is a critical move for veterans seeking recognition and compensation for service-connected health issues. This guide outlines the foundational steps for initiating a claim, including necessary documentation, the forms required, and the avenues for submission.

Understanding the Initial Forms

The primary document for the first claim for any disability is the VA Form 21-526EZ, “Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits.” This form is required to make a claim for disability compensation benefits. In certain instances, supplementary forms may be required, such as VA Form 21-0781 for PTSD claims, which should be submitted to provide additional context and support for the claim. The VA Form 21-526EZ explains these additional forms and when they should be included.


Submission Methods

The Department of Veterans Affairs has facilitated multiple channels for claim submission to accommodate veterans’ preferences and circumstances:


  • Online: Submitting through the VA’s eBenefits portal is advised for its efficiency and the ability to track the claim’s progress.
  • Mail: Claims can be sent via mail to the appropriate Claims Intake Center, with the addresses available on the VA website.
  • In Person: Personal submission at a local VA office is also an option, ensuring direct handoff and acknowledgment of the claim.

Next Steps

Once the claim has been submitted, veterans should anticipate confirmation of receipt from the VA. Following this, VA may request additional information or clarification, so it’s crucial to monitor the claim’s status and respond promptly to any VA correspondence.


Taking the initial steps to file a VA Disability Compensation Claim requires attention to detail and an understanding of the procedural requirements. With the correct documentation and proper completion of the initial forms, veterans can set their claims in motion with confidence.