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How Can I Show my Disability is Service Related?

Published on October 16th, 2019

In order to successfully apply for veterans disability compensation, you will need to demonstrate three things: you have an other than dishonorable discharge, you have a medical condition, and this medical condition is service related. For the VA to consider your medical condition to be service related, you must provide evidence that it was either caused or made worse by your military service. In some cases, the connection between your injuries and your military service may be obvious ore even presumed. But sometimes, the connection is not easy to establish.

If the VA has denied your application for disability compensation, a veterans benefit lawyer from Jackson & MacNichol can often help. We can collect additional evidence to establish that your medical conditions are significant, and that they were caused by your military service. When you get a denial letter from the VA, it’s important that you don’t give up. You owe it to yourself and to your family to fight for the benefits that you deserve. For a free consultation about appealing the denial of your veterans disability compensation, call us today at 1-800-524-3339.

The VA Considers Five Kinds of Service Connection for Disabilities

Depending on the kind of disability you have and the conditions of your service, the VA will apply different standards in determining the service connection of your disability. This connection can exist under five different circumstances:

  • Direct Service Connection–This exists when there is evidence linking your medical condition to your military service records. For example, if your service records shows that you received shrapnel injuries to your leg, and you are claiming disability compensation for pain and lack of mobility in this leg, then your application likely demonstrates a direct service connection.
  • Presumed Service Connection–Sometimes, your service records will not include a reference to a specific event that caused your medical conditions. However, many medical conditions are presumed to have been caused or exacerbated by military service, including: tuberculosis, Hansesn’s disease, tropical diseases, chronic illness, multiple sclerosis, cancer (for veterans exposed to radiation), and Type II diabetes or Parkinson’s disease (for veterans who served in Vietnam). There is also a limited presumption for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. For PTSD you must provide evidence–which may sometimes be your own testimony–that a stressful event happened during your military service.
  • Pre-Existing Condition Aggravated by Service–Here, you need to show that you had a medical condition before entering the military, and that your military service made the condition worse. To be successful, your application should show that your initial medical examination did not find your condition to be disabling. You can also try to demonstrate the existence of the pre-existing condition with a doctor’s statement or other medical records.
  • Secondary Service Connection–You may be able to obtain veterans disability compensation when one service connected condition causes another. For example, if you served in Vietnam, there is a presumption that your Type II diabetes is service related. If your diabetes caused peripheral neuropathy, than the VA can also consider the peripheral neuropathy to be a service related disability.
  • Injuries Caused by VA Treatment–If you can demonstrate that medical treatment you received within the VA Health Care System was negligent and caused your disability then that disability can be treated as if it was service connected . A misdiagnosis, a botched procedure, or the prescription of the wrong medication could all lead to medical conditions or injuries that may be covered by veterans disability compensation.

This is a broad overview of the ways in which you can establish a connection between your military service and your disability. This area of the law is complex and constantly changing because it is frequently before the courts in the area of veterans law. If you have been denied benefits and are unsure of how to prove the service connection for your disability, the veterans disability lawyers of Jackson & MacNichol can help. Call us today at 1-800-524-3339 for a free case consultation.


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