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Benefits Delivery at Discharge Allows Active-Duty Service Members to Get a Head Start on VA Claims

Injured active-duty service members with between 90 and 180 days from discharge are eligible to file for VA benefits through the Benefits Delivery at Discharge program.

If you are on active duty and within a certain date range from discharge, you can potentially file for disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and get a head start preparing for your post-military life.  

The VA’s Benefits Delivery at Discharge (BDD) program allows injured active-duty service members to apply for VA disability compensation benefits 180 to 90 days before separation. During this time, VA can review medical records, schedule mandatory exams, and evaluate claims. That way, when the service member provides discharge paperwork, like their DD214, a lot of the legwork that goes into a VA claim is already complete. 

Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) can help active-duty service members who qualify for BDD navigate the claims process. WWP’s™ VA-accredited national service officers dedicate themselves to helping military members get the benefits they’ve earned in a manner that honors their service.

Service members can do things on their own to help with their VA claims, but having the support of veterans service organizations like WWP can make the process less stressful.

Q&A About BDD Claims

There are often a lot of questions when it comes to filing for VA benefits, especially for the first time, and that includes BDD claims. WWP benefits training and operations specialist Michael Snook answers some common questions service members may have about BDD claims.

Question: Should you file for BDD even if you’re unsure where your permanent residency will be when you get out? 

Answer: Yes, but more important is understanding where you need to reside when the examinations for your BDD claim are ordered. If you’re not at the address you put on the VA forms, your exams will be ordered for the wrong place and might delay your decision. 

What if you file for BDD but move before scheduling your compensation and pension (C&P) exam or move before your scheduled appointment? 

Answer: Your exams will be ordered based on your address on the VA application. If you miss those exams, you must reschedule them, which could significantly delay the processing of your BDD claim. 

How long does a BDD claim take? Is the BDD claim timeline the same regardless of whether it’s a BDD claim? 

Answer: The timetable is quite different. When a veteran files a claim after they separate, it can sometimes take nine months to a year. BDD claims run parallel to your active military service, meaning you still receive a paycheck while the claims are processed. In most cases, your claim is completed within weeks after separation, up to a few months. 

If I’m serving in the National Guard or Reserves but am activated for 180 days and will receive my DD214 during this activation, can I apply for BDD? 

Answer: The requirements of BDD require that you file your claim within 180-90 days from separation. So, if you fall within this timeframe, you can file a BDD claim. 

If I have already submitted my BDD claim but receive additional support for the claim, like new medical records or buddy letters, can I still submit those? 

Answer: You should always talk to your VSO to determine what to do with additional evidence. But having additional medical evidence that shows the seriousness of the condition or an eyewitness account via buddy statements that can provide credibility to the condition is always helpful! 

Since I won’t get my DD214 until right before my separation from the military, and the VA requires a DD214 for VA claims, how can I file for a BDD without it?

Ansswer: VA expects that and doesn’t require a DD214 for a BDD claim. When you get within a month of separation, the VA will send you a letter asking for the DD214 once your branch of service issues it. Then, it will finish up your claim. 

Can you receive retroactive pay for a BDD claim? 

Answer: Sometimes, but rarely, does a BDD claim take longer than a month after separation to complete. 

What if I receive a rating from VA on my BDD claim but disagree with the rating? 

Answer: You have timeframes to request an appeal or a higher-level review of the findings of a BDD claim. Remember that a decision on a BDD claim is not forever, and you still have the same due process appeal rights as any other type of claim. 

You Don’t Have to Go at It Alone

Whether it’s filing for VA benefits, understanding the claims process, learning to budget finances, or preparing for a new civilian job, WWP can help. WWP’s financial wellness programs help warriors navigate their post-military lives and reach their financial and career goals. 

See the ways WWP serves warriors and their families.

Contact: — Paris Moulden, Public Relations,, 904.570.7910

About Wounded Warrior Project

Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition. Learn more.

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