Your intent to file a VA claim
Find out how to notify us of your intent to file a claim for VA disability, pension, or DIC benefits.
When you start your disability application online, it notifies us automatically of your intent to file
If you start filling out a claim form online for disability benefits, this will reserve a potential start date for your benefits. You don’t need to call us or submit a separate intent to file form.
Note: This automatic intent to file only applies to online disability applications. It doesn’t apply to online pension or DIC applications.
What’s an intent to file?
If you plan to file a claim for disability, pension, or DIC benefits and you notify us of your intent to file, it sets a potential start date (or effective date) for your benefits. When you do this, you may be able to get retroactive payments (compensation that starts at a point in the past). This is because your start date for benefits will be earlier than the date you file your claim.
How do I notify VA of my intent to file?
If you plan to file a claim by mail or in person for disability, pension, or DIC benefits and you want to notify us of your intent to file, you must call us or submit a separate form.
You can call us at 800-827-1000. We're here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET.
Or submit an Intent to File a Claim for Compensation and/or Pension, or Survivors Pension and/or DIC (VA Form 21-0966).
Download VA Form 21-0966 (PDF)
Mail it to this address:
Department of Veterans Affairs
Claims Intake Center
PO Box 4444
Janesville, WI 53547-4444
Or turn in your form in one of these ways:
How long do I have to file my claim after I notify VA of my intent?
After you notify us of your intent to file, you have 1 year to complete and file your claim.