Veterans who have been honorably discharged and suffer from a service-related disability are qualified to receive VA disability benefits. These benefits are dependent upon the disability rating, the amount of veterans’ dependents, as well as numerous other factors. However, the first step for a veteran to start receiving benefits is to start with an official VA disability application: the VA Form 21-526EZ.
Explaining the VA Form 21-526EZ
Veterans must submit this form to initiate a claim for compensation for their service-related disability.
The VA Form 21-526EZ is made up of 11 sections. For veterans applying for benefits, it’s important that all required sections are filled out with accurate information. A few sections, in particular, are crucial for veterans to be prepared for:
- Section I: Identification and Claim Information – Identifying information such as your full name, social security number, VA file number, date of birth, and current mailing address must be provided. Sections II and III allow you to explain further about any address changes or homeless situations.
- Section IV: Claim Information – List the current disabilities for which you are applying to receive disability benefits. For each disability listed, you’re required to specify whether the disability is due to an in-service exposure, event, or injury; how the disability relates to the in-service exposure, event, or injury; and an approximate date the disability began or worsened. An addendum can be added to the form if an applicant runs out of space while listing disabilities and details.
- Section V: Service Information – Veterans disclose their military service information, including service branch, time in the service, as well as enlistment and discharge dates.
- Section XI: Power of Attorney Signature – It is necessary for legal representatives that are providing assistance with your VA claim to sign the VA Form 21-526EZ.
Getting Started with the VA Form 21-526EZ
The VA provides several ways to fill out and submit the VA Form 21-526EZ. You can submit it online, by mail, through a legal representative, or you can appear in person at a regional VA office. It’s recommended to submit the form online through the VA’s eBenefits platform, as this can help speed up processing.
Standard Claim Process vs Fully Developed Claim Program
Veterans should note that there are two claims processes to choose between when filing your VA claim using Form 21-526EZ: the Standard Claim Process and the fully developed claim program (FDC program).
You will be able to submit additional evidence as a result of filing your claim through the Standard Claim Process, which is located under item 1 on the form.
The FDC program is an optional way to have your claim reviewed. When choosing this option you will be indicating to the VA that all of the evidence supporting your claim and application is being submitted with your application. You are still able to submit additional evidence after submitting your claim through the FDC program, however, if the VA determines more evidence is required, your claim will be moved to the Standard Claim Process.
How to Find the VA Form 21-526EZ
The VA Form 21-526EZ can be easily found and downloaded from the VA website. This site also allows you to access the tool to fill out the form online rather than filling in the PDF document.
If you’re in need of assistance or advice when filling out the VA Form 21-526EZ for disability benefits, contact Veterans Guardians. We are a consulting firm with a mission to help position veterans to achieve the disability rating they are eligible for when they file their claim for VA disability benefits and compensation.