Difference between a Fully Developed Disability Claims and a Standard Disability Claims

Learning how to file a VA disability claim is a process that many veterans must understand in order to obtain the appropriate VA rating and compensation.

The standard or traditional method allows the VA to take an active role in gathering additional evidence necessary to finalize your claim. This includes medical records and other relevant documents to confirm your claim.

Although seeking the VA’s assistance is an ideal procedure, gathering evidence, undergoing various tests, and further verification of information will take some time. This is why the VA encourages veterans to consider the Fully Developed Disability Claims process, also known as the Fully Developed Claim or FDC process.

So, what is the difference between fully developed disability claims and standard disability claims? Let us find out.

Understanding Fully Developed Disability Claims

Learning how to file a VA disability claim requires you to understand two distinct processes of how the VA conducts your claim: fully developed disability claims and standard disability claims.

The standard disability claims process is a traditional method where the VA takes an active role in filing a VA disability claim, such as collecting records.

The fully developed disability claims process is another option where it is your responsibility to compile all the necessary evidence and submit it to the VA.

This process allows for a quicker review of your claim, potentially resulting in you receiving your benefits sooner. If you want to lessen the hassle of filing a VA claim, then the fully developed disability claim process may be more appropriate for you.

What are the Necessary Documentation for a Fully Developed Claim and Its Eligibility Criteria?

The contents and criteria for a fully developed claim require medical diagnoses, which you can present in the form of medical records. You can locate these records in the following categories:

  1. Records of Medical Diagnoses and Service Treatments

Obtaining a medical diagnosis that highlights your condition is a critical component of your fully developed claim.

A medical diagnosis helps the VA verify your medical condition and finalize your fully developed claim. Incomplete information in your medical records will prompt the VA to send you a development letter and request that you provide additional proof or evidence.

2. In-service Injury

An in-service injury provides crucial evidence of incidents during active duty that caused your injuries. This allows the VA to determine if your conditions are service-connected.

3. Medical Nexus Letter

A nexus letter is a document from a verified physician or medical specialist describing your injuries and condition.

In some cases, the VA may deny your fully developed claim if they do not find any link between your injuries and the service connection. A Nexus letter confirms these diagnoses and offers in-depth research on your condition.

4. Other Medical Evidence

Depending on your condition, medical documents, evidence, and records are the key factors in helping you confirm how severe your symptoms are.

You can also produce a personal statement to provide more personal touch and detail how your condition is affecting your everyday functioning. Here is the other medical evidence supporting your fully developed claim.

  • Private medical evidence
  • Reports from the doctors
  • X-rays
  • Evaluation reports from non-VA medical establishments
  • Medical treatment records during active duty
  • Other available military records related to your condition

Filing for a Fully Developed Claim

If you have the complete documentation and want to submit your claim under FDC, then you can follow the steps below.

  1. Complete and send the VA Form 21-526EZ. You can complete the application and submit it online, or at the nearest local Veterans Affairs office. A. Always make sure to check the box that indicates “Fully Developed Claim Program” when signing the form.
  2. Provide all the evidence you have gathered and the claim you are about to submit. It is important that you secure multiple copies of the medical records and evidence you submitted. It can help you confirm what information the VA has regarding your condition.
  3. Certify that all the evidence that the VA needs is already in your claim for a faster claims process.
  4. If needed, the VA will ask you to take an exam, which will require you to visit any VA medical exams.

Take note, however, that submitting additional information after your application for FDC will remove it from this program and revert it to the standard claim.

Fully Developed Disability Claims vs. Standard Disability Claims

Filing for a fully developed disability claim can expedite your VA claims faster since the VA already has the required records and evidence to finalize a claim, in contrast to a standard disability claim, where the VA will request that you gather various evidence related to your claim.

Most veterans might think that they will need to do all the information gathering when filing a fully developed disability claim, but the VA can also help you obtain other evidence. With your authorization, they can assist in gathering the following information:

  • Requesting military records
  • Requesting relevant Social Security information and other records
  • Scheduling of health exams
  • Getting a medical opinion from a verified health care provider.

If you need further information or guidance on how to file a fully developed claim, then our coaching services or VA Disability Benefits Educational Services (DBES) are for you. You can book a free strategy call to directly contact our veteran coaches and get appropriate VA claim assistance.

DISCLAIMER : Just4Veterans LLC is NOT an accredited agent, attorney, entity or VSO recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and is not affiliated with the VA in any way. Veterans shall prepare and file their own claim with an accredited representative, who may offer their services for FREE. Veterans may search for and appoint an accredited VSO.