Disability Compensation Claim Overview

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General Description

Disability compensation is a benefit provided through the Department of Veterans' Affairs for Veterans who have an existing medical condition that is connected to their military services, such as an illness, injury, or scarring. Pre-existing conditions (those which existed before the veteran began active duty) may be claimed if the Veteran can show that the condition was worsened by active duty or by drill periods.

View an instructional video on how to file your claim online!

Forms Commonly Required

  • VA Form 21-526EZ (or 21-526 if all private medical records are not sent to the VA with the claim)
  • VA Form 21-22 (if filing through this office)
  • VA Form 21-4138 (statement in support of the claim)
  • VA Form 21-4142 (one per civilian medical provider; only for records not sent with the claim. This will delay processing. For the fastest processing, submit all private medical records associated with the specified disability at the time of application.)
  • VA Form 21-686c (for Veterans with dependents)

Please note: To increase an existing service-connected disability or to file an additional claim to one that was already awarded, the 21-526EZ is recommended. Also, a 21-4138 is recommended along with all appropriate 21-2142's if the records are not sent with the claim.


  • It is not necessary that the Veteran served during wartime to file for compensation.
  • Using the 21-4142 to obtain private medical records will delay the processing of the claim. Sending the records in with the claim will greatly reduce processing time.
  • After filing the claim, the Veteran will be contacted for a Compensation and Pension (C&P) exam. The scheduling of this exam is based on the existing workload and other operational factors. It may be several months before the C&P exam is scheduled.
  • It is critical that the Veteran make this appointment or call the number listed on the appointment sheet to change the appointment if required. Failure to attend the scheduled appointment may result in a denial of the claim.