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Extraordinary Circumstances


Extraordinary circumstances, in the context of VA benefits, refer to exceptional or uncommon situations that may warrant special consideration for benefit eligibility or claim processing. These exceptional conditions might include severe financial hardships, natural disasters, or personal crises impacting a veteran or their family. By taking extraordinary circumstances into account, the VA can provide more appropriate support and assistance to those in need.

Key Takeaways

  1. Extraordinary Circumstances refers to situations that are beyond the control of the veteran, resulting in a significant impact on their ability to fulfill their obligations or access their entitled VA benefits.
  2. Examples of Extraordinary Circumstances may include natural disasters, severe health issues, personal or family crises, or unanticipated financial hardships that interfere with the individual’s ability to partake in or successfully complete VA programs or activities.
  3. In the case of Extraordinary Circumstances, the VA may exhibit flexibility and offer special relief measures to affected veterans, such as granting extensions, waiving deadlines, or providing additional support to help them overcome the challenges and continue receiving benefits.


The term “Extraordinary Circumstances” holds significant importance within the context of VA benefits, as it pertains to situations wherein a veteran or their family members face unusual or exceptional challenges that may impede their ability to meet standard deadlines or requirements.

Under such circumstances, the Department of Veterans Affairs may exhibit flexibility and provide accommodations or extensions, ensuring that individuals still have fair access to the much-needed support and benefits granted to them.

Recognizing and addressing extraordinary circumstances showcases the VA’s commitment to serving and assisting veterans and their families when facing unforeseen adversities, reinforcing the core values of understanding and support.


The purpose of the term “Extraordinary Circumstances” within the context of VA benefits is to ensure that veterans, their families, and survivors receive the support and assistance they may need in situations that go above and beyond what is typically covered by standard benefits. Extraordinary Circumstances are special considerations given to individuals who are facing unique hardships or challenges that require additional attention from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

By acknowledging these circumstances, the VA is demonstrating their commitment to providing comprehensive care and support to those who have selflessly served our country. In practice, Extraordinary Circumstances may be applied in a variety of scenarios.

For example, veterans who have sustained severe service-related injuries or suffer from chronic medical conditions might require additional financial support or access to specialized healthcare services, which the VA can provide under this provision. Similarly, family members and survivors, who are faced with the unexpected loss of their loved one, may need assistance navigating the grieving process and adjusting to life without their veteran family member.

The VA may offer extended counseling services or modify benefits as needed to accommodate these specific instances. Ultimately, the term “Extraordinary Circumstances” serves as a means to provide tailored support to veterans and their families, who have given so much to our nation.

Examples of Extraordinary Circumstances

The VA Benefits term “Extraordinary Circumstances” refers to situations that are beyond the control of the claimant and may affect their ability to file a claim, submit necessary documents, or attend required VA appointments. These circumstances are taken into consideration by the Department of Veterans Affairs when granting extensions for submitting forms or completing requirements. Here are three real-world examples:

Natural disaster: A veteran residing in an area affected by a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, tornado, or flood, may have their home destroyed or be temporarily displaced. This can cause difficulty in accessing important documents or attending required appointments. The VA will typically consider this an extraordinary circumstance and grant extensions or assistance as needed.

Medical emergency: A veteran or an immediate family member experiencing a serious medical emergency or the sudden death of a close family member may not be able to file claims, attend appointments, or gather necessary documentation on time. In such cases, the VA may view these as extraordinary circumstances and extend deadlines or offer support.

Military deployment: If a veteran is serving in the military and is deployed to a combat zone or otherwise sent on active duty away from their home, they may have difficulty in completing requirements related to their VA benefits. The VA will generally take this situation into consideration as an extraordinary circumstance and offer extensions, delay scheduled appointments, or provide other support.

FAQ: Extraordinary Circumstances VA Benefits

What are Extraordinary Circumstances?

Extraordinary Circumstances are situations that are beyond the normal processing of a veteran’s claim for VA benefits, which may justify expeditious handling. Examples include terminal illness, homelessness, extreme financial hardship, or other similarly compelling situations.

How do I request expedited processing due to Extraordinary Circumstances?

To request expedited processing for your claim, you should submit a written request to your local VA Regional Office or through your accredited representative. Clearly state the reason you believe your situation qualifies as an Extraordinary Circumstance, and provide any supporting documentation that may help in determining whether expedited processing is warranted.

Will my claim be automatically expedited if I meet the criteria for Extraordinary Circumstances?

No, claims are not automatically expedited. The decision to expedite a claim is made on a case-by-case basis by the appropriate VA personnel. Your claim may or may not be expedited depending on the specific facts of your case and the discretion of the VA.

What benefits may be eligible for expedited processing under Extraordinary Circumstances?

Various benefits such as disability compensation, Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), pension benefits, and survivors’ benefits may be eligible for expedited processing when deemed as Extraordinary Circumstances.

How long will it take for my claim to be processed if it is expedited due to Extraordinary Circumstances?

The processing time for expedited claims due to Extraordinary Circumstances may vary depending on the severity of the situation, the complexity of the claim, and the availability of necessary evidence. The VA will make every effort to process expedited claims as quickly as possible; however, there is no specific timeline provided.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Unavoidable Hardship
  • Exceptional Medical Conditions
  • Natural Disasters
  • Emergency Care Reimbursement
  • Downstream Liability Waivers

Sources for More Information