Proving Your Disability is Service Connected

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Proving Your Disability is Service Connected

After filing a disability claim, the VA reviews the supporting evidence to decide whether your condition qualifies for benefits. The VA only grants disability to veterans with health conditions proven to be connected to their military service. But how can you show that your health condition is indeed service-connected? 

In order to build an effective case, you’ll need to enlist the help of an experienced VA attorney. Proving your case can be difficult, but if you include the necessary information, your chances for approval increase. Call us to discuss the specific circumstances surrounding your legal case. 

What Evidence Does the VA Look For When Reviewing a Disability Claim?

While reviewing the provided documents as part of your disability claim, the VA looks for evidence demonstrating that:

  • You have an ongoing physical or mental disability that impacts your ability to complete everyday tasks, and
  • The event, illness or injury that caused the disability occurred during military service. 

To support your claim, you’ll need to provide certain documents, such as records of the treatments you received in service, doctor’s reports and medical test results as evidence of your injury. 

Establishing a VA Service Connection

Establishing a clear connection between your disability and your military service is one of the hardest obstacles to overcome when applying for VA benefits. There are several possible methods to prove this relationship, each requiring a specific method of proof: 

  • Direct Service Connection. There is a direct service connection if a veteran was injured during active military duty. The veteran’s service medical records serve as the primary source of evidence for a direct service connection. You have a fair possibility of approval if the medical evidence provided shows that an accident happened, you were diagnosed with a medical condition and a doctor confirms that your current disability is connected to the event.  
  • Aggravated Service Connection. If a veteran had a health condition prior to starting military service but later developed a disability as a result of their military responsibilities, the VA might determine that they have an aggravated service connection. 
  • Presumptive Service Connection. The VA will automatically recognize certain medical conditions as being related to military service as long as they developed soon after the service was completed. Disorders such as brain injuries, malignancies, infection diseases, illnesses brought on by chemical exposure and wounds sustained by prisoners of war often fall into this category. A confirmed diagnosis and medical documentation demonstrating that symptoms first occurred before the stipulated time period had passed serve as proof of an ailment. For most cases, the limit is 90 days. 
  • Secondary Service Connection. Sometimes, a service-connected disability can result in a secondary illness, such as when a brain injury causes depression. You must show records of diagnosis and a doctor’s report supporting the claim that your secondary condition is connected to your initial, service-connected disability. 

Contact a VA Attorney

If your disability claim was denied, contact the Comerford Law Office, LLC for assistance. We can discuss your case in detail and help you understand what it means to have a service-connected disability. 

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