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Learn what the PACT Act means for your VA benefits

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).
Get VA Form 21-0966 to download

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. 

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VA benefits

  • Disability

    File a claim for disability compensation for conditions related to your military service, and manage your benefits over time.

  • Pension

    Apply for monthly payments for wartime Veterans and survivors with limited or no income who meet certain age and disability requirements.

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