Skip to Content

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 or Supplemental Claim online, it notifies us automatically of your intent to file

If you start filling out a claim form or Supplemental Claim online for disability benefits, we’ll 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 doesn’t apply to online claims for pensions or DIC (Dependency and Indemnity Compensation) benefits.

Submit an intent to file online

What’s an intent to file?

An intent to file sets a potential start date (or effective date) for your benefits. If you notify us of your intent to file and we approve your claim, you may be able to get retroactive payments. Retroactive payments are payments for the time between when we processed your intent to file and when we approved your claim. 

You can notify us of your intent to file if you plan to file a claim or a Supplemental Claim for these types of benefits:

  • Disability compensation
  • Pension benefits
  • Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)

How do I notify VA of my intent to file?

You can submit an intent to file form online right now. 

Submit an intent to file form online

You can also call us at 800-827-1000 (TTY: 711) to notify us of your intent to file. We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET.

Or, notify us in person or by mail. If you want to submit by mail, download and fill out an Intent to File a Claim for Compensation and/or Pension, or Survivors Pension and/or DIC (VA Form 21-0966). Then mail your completed form to the address listed in the PDF.

Get VA Form 21-0966 to download

If you need help submitting your intent to file, work with an accredited attorney, claims agent, or Veterans Service Organization (VSO) representative.

Get help submitting an intent to file

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. 

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.

Need more help?

  • VA benefits hotline:
  • MyVA411 main information line:
  • Telecommunications Relay Services (using TTY) TTY: 711