Successful VA compensation claims are comprised of three parts. Many veterans don’t really understand these different elements and are consequently denied veterans benefits and forced to endure the lengthy appeals process, but you can save yourself a lot of time and heartache by knowing what you need to do ahead of time. What are these three elements?
A disability that currently affects you.
Many people are denied veterans benefits because they incorrectly believe that they are entitled to receive compensation just for being injured while they were serving in the military. This is not the case. For VA compensation claims to go through, you have to be suffering from a medically diagnosed injury that is currently affecting you. This means that even if you were shot or injured in some other kind of extreme way, if doctors have determined that your injury is healed, you won’t receive any benefits.
A disability that was caused by your service.
In order to receive compensation, you need to be able to show that some kind of event during your service (typically a disease or an injury) caused the current disability. The VA will examine your veteran’s service medical records for proof, and also investigate to make sure that any conditions diagnosed during your service did not exist prior to your time in the military. If this is the case and you cannot prove that your service aggravated the condition, it might be denied. In the event that the condition is not mentioned in veteran’s service medical records, it is possible that “proof” can come from private medical records or statements from witnesses.
A “nexus” must exist.
VA compensation claims not only have to be able to show that the original injury occurred during your service (or that a previous injury was aggravated), they also have to provide medical evidence showing that your current disability stems from that original incident. How do you do this? By proving something called “continuity of symptomology.” Basically, you need to show that the original incident caused a particular condition for which you received treatment and how that treatment has continued. If you stop receiving treatment for a time, or if more than a year passes between the time you are discharged from service and you file your claim, proving the existence of a “nexus” becomes harder. Many denied veterans benefits are often the result of an inability to prove that a “nexus” exists.