VA Compensation claims are the on the most common type of VA claims. Unfortunately the VA and our government have made the process of attaining VA benefits long, difficult, and incredibly complex, leading to uncountable denied veterans claims. Many veterans haven’t even been told that there are seven different types of compensation claims, and that the way you prove that you deserve benefits in each case is not the same.
Here is a description of each type of compensation claim in detail so that you can avoid becoming another statistic for denied veterans claims.
VA Benefits: Direct Service Connection
This is probably the kind of compensation claim that most veterans are familiar with. Veterans can file this type of claim at any time, but it becomes harder to prove the longer he or she is out of the service before filing the claim. It isn’t unheard of for a veteran to have multiple direct service connection claims going through the system at the same time. This type of claim has three requirements to prove that you deserve VA benefits: current condition, precipitating event that occurred during service, and “nexus.”
VA Benefits: Secondary Service Connection
When a Vet has a condition directly related to their service and later suffers from a different medical condition that developed because of the original condition, it’s possible to get veterans benefits for that secondary disability. For example, a Vet who injured his or her leg while in service might feasibly develop a back condition later in life through favoring one leg over the other. In order for this secondary condition to qualify for veterans benefits, a Vet must 1) already have a condition deemed to be service-connected, 2) currently be suffering from a second condition, and 3) obtain a doctor’s opinion stating that the secondary condition “as likely than not” developed as a result of the original, service-connected disability. It’s very important to be aware of and actively pursue benefits for secondary conditions, because they can often be more costly and damaging than the original issue.
VA Benefits: Claims for Increased Disability Ratings
After it has been decided that you have a service-connected condition, you will be given benefits based on the “percentage of disability” that they calculate using medical definitions. If you believe the level to which you are disabled has increased, you may return to the VA and ask for your compensation to be increased, and they will examine you and give you a diagnosis. There is no real downside to this, and quite a bit of upside if it’s determined that your condition has worsened. It’s also another opportunity for the VA to notice secondary conditions.
VA Benefits: Reopened Claims
Denied veterans claims can be appealed, but even after the appeal period, it’s possible to re-open a claim at a later time. All you need to do is show “new and material evidence” that was missing during the original claim that directly relates to the reason the first claim was denied.
In part two of types of VA compensation claims, I will discuss non-service-connected pension benefits, 1151 claims, DIC and accrued benefits, and “CUE” claims. Know your VA benefits or risk having them denied.