If you have filed a VA claim, then you are awaiting the VA’s decision on “service connection” for your condition(s). If your condition is deemed to be service-connected, then you’ll get a rating, but there are three things that must be in place for service connection to exist.
You must prove you have a current medical problem, and you must prove that your current medical problem is connected to your military service. You must prove that something specific happened to you while you were in the service that leads to this connection, which is called a “nexus” by the VA. Denied claims are often the result of something missing in the above equation.
If there is a long time between your military service and your current condition that led to your claim, then there may be an issue with insufficient proof of a connection between your military service and your current condition. A lack of medical records or a lack of military records may come into play.
For example, a navy officer in the 1960s may have been on a ship with asbestos, and he may now have asbestosis. He likely did not see medical personnel for lung issues near the time of exposure. He would need to prove he was exposed to asbestos and that his current condition is the result of that exposure.
You also need to be seeing a physician currently to have your condition documented. If not, the VA will not approve you. You will need a medical opinion from a doctor connecting your current condition with what happened in the service. The longer the time between your service and your current condition, the harder it can be to prove your claim. If you are suffering from a current condition as a result of your military service, then you should file your claim as soon as possible.
It is possible the VA may blame your current condition on experiences you have had in the years between, such as a car accident or other traumatic event. Watch the video to learn more.
At Tucker Law Group we handle VA Disability cases every day. If your disability claim has been denied, or if you have any additional questions, call Tucker Law Group at (866) 233-5044, or review our videos and media library for more information.
Video TranscriptWhat are the top three reasons VA denies Disability Compensation Claims. I'm John Tucker. I'm a Veterans Disability Attorney, and I represent veterans all over the United States in claims for disability compensation. All manner of impairments, all manner of medical conditions, VA ends up focusing really on three things for initial claims that cause veterans problems, and I want to tell you about them. If you filed a claim for benefits, you know you're waiting for a rating decision from the VA. You're waiting for a decision saying, "This is service connected," and if it is, they give you a rating percentage. Well, before they get to that rating percentage, there's three things they have to decide are present to give you service connection, and those are really the three areas that we see that are the biggest problems in terms of VA denials. So to prove service connection, you have to prove something happened to you in the service; some occurrence, injury, manifestation of a physical disease, a mental impairment. Something happened back when you were in the military. You have to prove you have a current condition, you have a current medical problem, and usually you're doing that with medical records, and you've got to prove they're connected. That's called a nexus. That's the third part of service connection. Well, these are the three areas we see are problems.
So first veterans can't prove that something happened when they were in the service. Let's say you waited 30 years to file a claim. You have 30 years of records you have to go back through all the way to when you were in the service to prove something happened in the service. You can't just show, "I've got a problem today; it's related to what happened to be in the military." This is fairly common with many types of VA claims take asbestosis. If someone was in the Navy in the 1960s, and they never showed up with a problem to sick bay or to a doctor with their lungs, but then 30 years later said they had an asbestos problem, you're going to need some kind of documentation explaining how something happened in the service. The first part of that is exposure that the person was on a ship. For instance, that had asbestos.
Now the second thing: the current condition. If you're not going to a doctor, currently, VA is not going to approve you. You've got to see a physician, and have your condition documented.
And the third thing, the next that's the connection. This is perhaps the most common thing that we see: the veterans not able to get an opinion from a doctor connecting what's going on now with what happened when they were in the service. The longer that period of time goes, the harder it is, which is why you should file a claim as soon as possible. If you were in Vietnam and you file a claim in 2020, that's a long gap that you have to bridge to explain how those things are connected. And a lot of things happen in the intervening years in our lives. If you're telling VA you had a back injury in the 1980s, in 2020 you file a claim, but in the intervening 20 or so years, you've had two car accidents, that makes it harder.