You fought for us. Now let me fight for you.
Veterans discharged from the military often have lifelong injuries and disabilities from their service, whether incurred in training or overseas in combat. Some of those injuries are visible, and some are not. We help Veterans who have been denied service-connection for their injuries, or given unsatisfactorily low ratings. In order to be entitled to Disability Compensation from the Veterans Administration, you must prove these three elements:
- Be a Veteran who has a discharge that was NOT dishonorable
- Have a disability
- Show that the current disability is related to an incident, exposure, or disease while in service.
In order to prove to the VA that you are entitled to disability benefits, you must first apply, either online or by using paper form. Once you tell the VA the details of your military service and the disabilities you believe are related to your service, the VA has an obligation to collect the evidence to prove your claim and that your disabilities “are as likely as they are not” related to your military service. This means that they must collect your service record from the military or the National Archives, and collect medical records from doctors and treatment facilities you have visited. They will often seek a medical opinion about your condition by sending you to a “Claims and Pension” or “C&P” Exam with a doctor hired by the VA.
Service Connection, or whether a claimed condition is related to the Veteran’s service, is the most common issue in Disability Compensation claims. Service connection can be established a few different ways:
- Direct Service Connection - For instance, the Veteran suffered a back injury while on Active Duty, and that back injury is now causing arthritis.
- Secondary Service Connection - An injury/disease while in service gave way to another, related injury. For instance, if a Veteran injures one knee, they may begin to overcompensate, resulting in other orthopedic injuries.
- Presumptive Service Connection - A disease is presumptively linked to an event in service. This is common with certain diseases, such as diabetes, certain types of cancer, or Parkinson’s disease.
The Veterans Administration makes several common errors when evaluating claims:
- Failing to acquire all the available evidence.
- Failing to review all of the evidence.
- Incomplete or improper medical exam.
- Failure to apply tests for Direct, Secondary, or Presumptive Service Connection.
Attorney Andy Gross is a veteran of the U.S. Army, having served in the U.S. Army Reserves, Maryland Army National Guard, and Active Component as a Judge Advocate. He understands the issues related to military service and appealing VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims.