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3 Ways to Submit a VA Intent to File (VA Form 21-0966) | Common Questions Answered!

Did you know that waiting to file your disability claim could cost you thousands of dollars in compensation?

As a Veteran or a survivor, you can utilize the VA Intent to File to give yourself extra time (up to one year) to get everything you need to file a rock-solid VA Disability Claim. What Veterans don’t realize is that the date that a VA Intent to File is submitted is now your effective date. The effective date is when you will be back paid too. This can be thousands of dollars depending on the individual claim you are filing. The best part is that it’s super easy and the VA gives you three ways to file it!

Were going to answer some common questions regarding the VA Intent to File and discuss the 3 ways to submit one.

What is a VA Intent to File?

If you are planning to file a claim for VA Disability Benefits a VA Intent to File (VA Form 21-0966) sets an effective date for your benefits. If the VA Intent to File is submitted you will receive retroactive payments from the date it is received by the VA. This is why submitting an intent to file is so important!

How long is the VA Intent to File good for?

You will have one year to complete and file your VA Disability Claim after you submit your VA Intent to File.

How many claims can I use the VA Intent to File for?

A VA Intent to File is only good for one VA Disability Claim. After a completed claim is submitted the Intent to File is no longer active.

3 Ways to Submit an Intent to File

Submit an Intent to File Online (2 Options)

Option #1

Go to to register or log in, and:   

  • initiate a claim
  • complete the personal information page
  • hit “save” to establish your effective date (you’ll have one year to complete your application from this date)
va form intent to file

Option #2

Go to www.VA.Gov to register, or log in, and:

Home Page:

VA.Gov Home Screen
  • Scroll to the Disability Section (As shown in the image below)
VA.Gov Disability Section
  • Click the “File a claim for compensation”
  • You will be directed to the following screen.
Start your VA Disability Compensation Application
  • Click the Green “Start the Disability Compensation Application”
  • Start the Application on the next page and you’re all set! The image below will be your confirmation.
Intent to File submission confirmation

Submit an Intent to File VA Claim by Phone

Submit an Intent to File in Writing (VA Form 21-0966)

  • Download and fill out the VA Intent to File form (VA Form 21-0966)
  • Print and turn in your intent to file VA form by mailing it to:
    Department of Veterans Affairs
    Claims Intake Center
    PO Box 4444
    Janesville, WI 53547-4444
  • …or print and take it to a VA regional office near you 
VA Form 21 0966
VA Intent to File (VA Form 21-0966)

As you can see the VA Intent to File is a very easy process. You should submit one after each claim regardless of whether or not you know for sure you’ll be filing another VA Disability Claim. With the Intent to File being active for one full year, you will have plenty of time to gather the necessary evidence required for any future VA Claims and receive up to one years back-pay!

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Semper Fidelis,

Sergeant (Marine Corps Veteran)
For The Corps

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