If you are a transitioning service member applying for VA disability compensation under the Benefits Delivery at Discharge (BDD) or the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) program, there are some changes coming that you should know about.
Starting April 1, you will be required to complete and submit the Part A Self-Assessment of a new Separation Health Assessment (SHA) with your BDD or IDES application.
The SHA is a single separation examination which supports both the VA disability compensation process and the Department of Defense (DoD) separation/retirement process.
The SHA examination documents any medical concerns identified during your military career, assists with identifying future illnesses, and reduces redundant examinations between both agencies.
The SHA is divided into three Parts:
- Part A – medical history questionnaire. You must complete Part A prior to attending your clinical assessment;
- Part B – clinical assessment. This is where the examiner will review your Part A and your Service Treatment Records (STRs), provide an examination, and then deliver a clinical assessment;
- Part C – this is reserved for DoD reviewer purposes only. DoD is expected to fully begin using the SHA later this year.
The SHA Part A questionnaire will provide VA examiners a history of the service member’s medical conditions and will assist with conducting a more thorough and better-quality examination. A link to the Part A questionnaire will be placed on the VA Form 21-526-EZ Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefit, under the eligibility criteria for the BDD program, and on the VA BDD and IDES Fact Sheets. A direct link to Part A is also available here.
BDD claimants who submit applications online can upload the completed Part A with their STRs under the evidence section. After VA receives and reviews the application, STRs, and completed Part A Self-Assessment, an SHA examination will be requested. The SHA clinical assessment will be conducted by one of VA’s contracted examiners or a local VA health care examiner. All evidence submitted by the service member will be made available electronically to the examiner.
The new SHA is a multi-year collaborative effort between both agencies to improve the separation examination process for service members exiting the military.
For further information on the BDD and IDES programs, please visit our website at Pre-Discharge Claim | Veterans Affairs.