VA Disability Pay and the Benefits Delivery at Discharge Program
If you are still serving and you are within 6 months to 90 days of your final out-processing date, you may qualify to apply for VA disability benefits and get them paid earlier using a VA program called Benefits Delivery at Discharge.
What Is Benefits Delivery at Discharge (BDD)?
BDD is offered to those who have between 180 and 90 days remaining on their military service commitment. Those who qualify may receive their VA disability ratings and decisions much faster than waiting until the final weeks of out-processing to get started.
Benefits Delivery At Discharge is a program designed to encourage earlier claims; the earlier you apply, the sooner you can start drawing VA benefits. The VA says applying through BDD may speed your claims process if you meet ALL the following requirements:
- You’re a service member on full-time active duty (including a member of the National Guard, Reserve, or Coast Guard)
- Your separation date is in the next 180 to 90 days
- You’re available for VA exams for 45 days from the date of your claim
- You can provide a copy of your service treatment records for your current period of service when you file your claim
Benefits Offered Via BDD
- The benefit of using BDD is that you get your VA claim processed faster, which means approved claims may be paid sooner after discharge than if submitted using the standard procedure.
- If you take the standard route, you may be waiting weeks or months after discharge to be awarded a VA disability rating and the compensation that goes with it.
- There are no additional disability pay or benefits offered when using BDD; this program is more about the speed of the process.
Related: VA Disability Pay
Those Who Have Less Than 90 Days on Active Duty
If you have less than 90 days remaining, you are not eligible for BDD. However, you may still qualify to file your claim prior to discharge using a process called the Fully Developed Claim. You can also apply using the VA “Standard Claim” procedure.
Who Cannot Use BDD?
You must meet the basic qualifications of the program to use it, but some are not eligible regardless of when or how they apply. You do not qualify for BDD if any of the following applies to you:
- You need case management
- You’re terminally ill
- You’re waiting to be discharged while treated at a VA hospital or military facility
- You’re waiting for a VA determination on your Character of Military Discharge
- You can’t go to a VA exam during the 45 days after applying
- You didn’t submit copies of your service treatment records
- You added a medical condition to your original claim and had less than 90 days remaining
Other criteria may also apply.
What to Know Before Applying for BDD
Application procedures for this benefit will vary depending on whether you are stationed in the United States or overseas at application time. Those stationed in the USA can file a claim online, in person, or by regular mail. When applying, you must submit the following with your application:
- Military and civilian service treatment records
- Separation Health Assessment – Part A Self-Assessment form
Plan to be available for VA appointments for 45 days from the date you apply. Do not neglect your VA and Defense Department (DOD) medical separation examination process before your final out-processing date.
If you are applying from an overseas base, your processes may vary depending on where you are stationed (Europe, the Pacific, etc.) and the location of the nearest BDD regional office in those areas.
Applying for BDD Overseas
To complete a pre-discharge claim overseas, you must be available for a VA medical exam for 45 days from your application, just like the stateside version of BDD.
You will also need enough time remaining in the host nation to complete any required medical exams and specialty clinic visits. Ensure you have copies of your military and civilian medical records and a completed Separation Health Assessment – Part A Self-Assessment form.
Applying for VA Disability Benefits After Leaving the Military
VA.gov reminds, “You can also file a claim for a disability that appears after discharge,” and this type of application is known as a VA postservice claim. You have no time limit when filing a post-service claim, but the VA advises that the process gets more complicated the longer you delay applying.
About the author
Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.