It is to your advantage to submit your disability compensation claim prior to separation, retirement, or release from active duty or demobilization. Processing times tend to be much shorter for claims submitted pre-discharge than after discharge. Pre-discharge programs provide Servicemembers with the opportunity to file claims for disability compensation up to 180 days prior to separation or retirement from active duty or full-time National Guard or Reserve duty (Titles 10 and 32).
You can apply for disability compensation through one of the following:
|Benefits Delivery at
|Quick Start||Overseas Intake Sites|
|When to apply prior to separation?||60-180 days||1-59 days||Within 180 days|
|Availability||Nationwide||Nationwide||Select military installations in Germany and Korea|
The Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) is used to determine a Servicemember's fitness for duty. The Departments of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) worked together to make disability evaluation seamless, simple, fast and fair. If the Service member is found medically unfit for duty, the IDES gives them a proposed VA disability rating before they leave the service.
While in a pre-discharge program, you may also apply for other VA benefits, such as Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment, Education, and Loan Guaranty. The following resources are available when initially applying for benefits:
Veterans Crisis Line:
1-800-273-8255 (Press 1)
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs | 810 Vermont Avenue, NW Washington DC 20420
Last updated March 6, 2014.