Do I Qualify for VA Disability Benefits?

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Do I Qualify for VA Disability Benefits?

The only way to determine if you qualify for VA disability benefits is to apply for them. So long as you are a former U.S. soldier who served active duty or inactive duty for training, you can apply for VA disability benefits. If you received a dishonorable discharge, you will not qualify for VA benefits. The VA’s disability system can get complicated, though, and your chances of submitting a successful claim increase when you have help from an experienced VA benefits lawyer.

Basic Qualifications for VA Disability Benefits

The most basic qualifications for VA disability payments are:

  • You are a former U.S. military veteran in good standing with the military
  • You acquired a service-connected medical condition
  • This condition prevents you from sustaining gainful employment

It sounds simple, right? In truth, the above elements can be quite difficult to prove.

Acquiring a Disability in the Line of Service

There are three types of disability claims:

  • Preservice disability claim – You had a disability that was made worse or aggravated by your military service. The majority of these claims involve psychiatric illness aggravated by battle or combat trauma. The VA cannot deny your claim on the basis that you already had a mental illness when you joined up so long as you can prove your symptoms were aggravated by the stress of combat. Others may include toxic exposure and respiratory ailments.
  • Inservice disability claim – You acquired a disability during your military service. Paralysis, loss of limb, traumatic brain injury, and toxic exposure are all inservice disabilities that are eligible for compensation. There are many others, as well.
  • Postservice disability claim – Toxic exposure can result in cancers that are not obvious until after the soldier has completed their military service. Such claims may involve conditions that did not emerge until well after the soldier was discharged.

Presumptive Disabilities

While some conditions may be relatively easy to prove, others are quite difficult. If you are diagnosed with a chronic disease within one year of your discharge, you should seek out a lawyer immediately. The VA will give you the benefit of the doubt in some cases, and simply presume that your disability is service-connected. This means that you would not have to prove a connection to your service. However, specific rules apply.

As an example of this type of claim, Vietnam veterans who have specific conditions and were exposed to Agent Orange are presumed disabled by the VA. Former POWs qualify for presumptive disabilities. Today, Gulf War veterans may be presumed disabled.

In these cases, veterans only need to establish that they were at an exposure site and have an ailment linked to the exposure.

Talk to a Chicago VA Disability Attorney Today

For more information on applying for VA benefits, call The Comerford Law Office, LLC today and schedule a free consultation. Our experienced attorneys can sit down with you free of charge and discuss your options openly and honestly. Call today and we can discuss the merits of your claim.

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