An Intent to File (ITF) is a formal notification submitted to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) by an individual who intends to apply for VA benefits. The ITF serves as a placeholder for a future claim and establishes an effective date for benefits if the claim is approved.
The purpose of the ITF is to preserve the potential effective date of benefits while the applicant gathers necessary documentation and completes the required application forms. It is important to note that the ITF does not initiate the actual claim or provide any specific benefit entitlements. Instead, it serves as a preliminary step to initiate the claim process.
Why is this important? Because time is running out quickly for Veterans to file for benefits under the new PACT Act and possibly have their claim backdated to when the Act was signed, on August 10, 2022. The year ends on August 9 of this year. The VA is trying to get word out to every Veteran who may possibly have a claim to file under the new PACT Act…FILE NOW. If you don’t have all the paperwork needed to file, at least file an ITF to preserve that date and possible get your claim backdated to last August.
By submitting an ITF, individuals have one year from the date of the notification to file a formal claim for benefits with the VA. If a claim is filed within that one-year period, the effective date of benefits can be established based on the date of the ITF. This means that if the claim is approved, the individual may be eligible to receive retroactive benefits dating back to the ITF’s effective date.
Submitting an ITF is relatively simple and can be done through various means, including online through the VA’s eBenefits portal, by mail, in person at a VA regional office, or with your local Veteran Service Officer. It is recommended to consult with a Veterans Service Officer (VSO) or a VA representative to ensure the proper submission of the ITF and to receive guidance throughout the claims process. EVEN IF you’re not sure that you will have a claim to file, you’re not sure if you’ll qualify for anything under the PACT Act, go ahead and file the ITF. It doesn’t cost anything, it takes about 5 minutes, and it covers you for the next year just in case.