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Fully Developed Claim Program

The Fully Developed Claim (FDC) program is the fastest way to get your claim processed, and there’s no risk to your taking part in it. Just send in all your evidence, or supporting documents, when you file your claim. Participation in the FDC program is optional and won’t affect your benefits.

If you file a claim in the FDC program and we decide that additional documents exist that we need to decide your claim, we’ll remove your claim from the FDC program and process it as a standard claim.

Find out how you can participate in the FDC program.


  • FDC Program

    When turning in your claim under the FDC program, you must send us all the supporting documents you have and provide information about supporting documents that you don’t have. Submit your claim according to these 3 FDC Criteria:

    1. File your claim by filling out and turning in an Application for Pension (VA Form 21P-527EZ).
    2. When you file your claim, please include:
      • All necessary income and net-worth information, and
      • All private medical records you have that are related to your claim, and
      • Information about any health records that are available at a federal facility, like a VA medical center or clinic
    3. Go to any VA medical appointments required to decide your claim.

    Standard Claim Process

    With a standard claim, you’ll give us permission to gather evidence or records for you. You’ll need to give us enough information about the evidence so we can request it from the right person or agency.

    If a person or agency refuses to turn over the evidence, asks for money for the evidence, or can’t get the evidence, we’ll ask you to try to get the evidence or records. It’s your responsibility to make sure we receive all requested records that aren’t at a federal agency or office.

  • If you’re claiming non-service-connected pension benefits, the evidence must show:

    1. You meet certain minimum requirements for active service during a period of war. Those requirements are:

      • 90 days of consecutive (without a break) active service, with at least 1 day during wartime, or
      • 90 days of combined service, with at least 1 day during wartime (Note: If your service began after September 7, 1980, additional service requirements may apply, typically 2 years of continuous service or completion of active-duty service), or
      • Any length of active-duty service during wartime, with discharge because of a service-connected disability
    2. You’re at least 65 years old or have a permanent and total disability. You’re considered permanently and totally disabled if medical evidence shows that you:

      • Are a patient in a nursing home for long-term care, or
      • Receive Social Security disability benefits, or
      • Are unemployable because of a disability that doesn’t go away, or
      • Have a disability that doesn’t go away and that makes it impossible for you to work, or
      • Have a disease or disorder that we decide is the cause of your permanent and total disability
    3. Your net worth and income are within certain limits.

    If you’re claiming non-service-connected pension benefits with Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits, the evidence must show that you:

    • Have corrected vision of 5/200 or less in both eyes, or
    • Have contraction of the concentric visual field to 5 degrees or less, or
    • Are a patient in a nursing home due to the loss of mental or physical abilities, or
    • Need another person to help you with daily activities like bathing, eating, dressing, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting you from the hazards of your environment, or
    • Are bedridden and have to spend most of the day in bed because of your disability

    To support a claim for increased disability pension benefits based on being housebound, the evidence must show that you:

    • Have a single permanent disability that’s 100% disabling, and you’re confined to your home, or
    • Have a disability (rated 60% or higher) in addition to the disability that qualifies you for a pension

    If you’re claiming benefits for a disabled child, the evidence must show that the child, before turning 18 years old, became unable to support themselves due to a mental or physical disability.

  • FDC Program

    Under the FDC program, we’ll:

    • Request relevant records that you identify and authorize us to get from a federal facility, like a VA medical center
    • Schedule a health exam or get a medical opinion for you, if we decide we need it for your claim

    Standard Claim Process

    With the standard claim process, we’ll:

    • Request relevant records that you identify and authorize us to get from a federal facility, like a VA medical center
    • Schedule a health exam or get a medical opinion for you, if we decide we need it for your claim
    • Make every reasonable effort to request relevant records that you authorize us to get that aren’t at a federal facility. These may include records from state or local governments, documents from a private doctor, hospital records, or records from current or former employers
  • FDC Program

    You’ll need to turn in the information and evidence at the same time as you file your claim.

    Note: If you turn in additional information or evidence after you send in your fully developed claim, we’ll remove your claim from the FDC program and process it as a standard claim. If we decide your claim before 1 year from the date we receive the claim, you’ll have the rest of that 1-year period to turn in additional information or evidence to support your claim.


    Standard Claim Process

    You’ll need to turn in the information and evidence as soon as you can.

    Note: You have up to 1 year from the date we receive your claim to turn in any information and evidence. If we decide your claim before 1 year from the date we receive the claim, you’ll have the rest of the 1-year period to turn in additional information or evidence to support your claim.

  • Fill out an Application for Pension (VA Form 21P-527EZ).
    Download VA Form 21P-527EZ.

    Note: Attach all the supporting documents (evidence) to the end of the form.

    You can turn in your application and evidence in 1 of 3 ways:

    By mail
    Mail the application to the Pension Management Center (PMC) for your state.
    Find your PMC.

    In person
    Bring your application to a regional benefit office near you.
    Find a regional benefit office.

    With the help of a trained professional
    You can work with a trained professional called an accredited representative to get help applying for VA pension benefits.
    Get help filing a claim.

Special Situations

If any of the below situations apply to you, you’ll need to turn in the additional forms at the same time as you file your pension claim. If you’re:

  • Claiming non-service-connected pension with Housebound or Aid and Attendance benefits, you and your doctor will need to fill out a form called an Examination for Housebound Status or Permanent Need for Regular Aid and Attendance (VA Form 21-2680).
    Note: If you’re in a care facility, please also fill out a Request for Nursing Home Information in Connection with Claim for Aid and Attendance (VA Form 21-0779).
  • Claiming a child in school between the ages of 18 and 23, fill out a Request for Approval of School Attendance (VA Form 21-674).
  • Claiming benefits for a seriously disabled child, turn in all private medical records for the child’s disabilities.