If you are looking for help with your VA disability claim it is probably because you are frustrated by the process. After helping countless veterans with their disability claims, we know how confusing it can be. It is particularly difficult if you have received a denial letter and you do not understand why your claim was rejected or what the process is for moving forward. We can help you sort things out.
First, keep in mind that there are certain requirements that must be met in order to be eligible for disability benefits from the Veterans Administration (VA). Those requirements are:
- You must be a veteran of the U.S. military
- You must have an honorable discharge
- You must have a condition that is connected to your military service: a direct connection, an aggravated connection, a secondary connection, or a presumptive connection
Even if you were honorably discharged from the military and you believe your condition was caused by your military service, you may still be denied when you initially apply. There are several possible reasons for this and they often can be overcome.
Reasons You May Have Been Denied
The first reason might be that you have not completed the necessary paperwork, or the VA could simply have made a mistake. They are human, and overworked humans, at that.
Other reasons for denial could be that you have not sufficiently proven the existence of a condition or you have not proven a connection to your military service.
Finally, the reason might be that you were dishonorably discharged, your condition was caused by your own misconduct, or it occurred while you were AWOL, detained for court-martial, or avoiding duty.
How to Overcome These Issues
Lacking certain forms, your claim may be rejected. Disability Benefits Questionnaires (DBQs), Personal Statements in support of your claim, buddy letters, a DD214 document that shows doctors and VA raters where you were stationed and what your duties were, and a number of other forms and documents are available to help you strengthen your case. As veterans’ attorneys, we know what paperwork is needed to support your claim for benefits, specific to your disability, injury, or illness.
If you have not sufficiently demonstrated the existence of a condition, you will need a clear diagnosis from the appropriate medical personnel, along with records of treatment. Depending on the disability or condition, demonstrating a connection to military service may require you to show your deployments and duties, any treatment records while in the service, and/or lay witness or buddy statements attesting to your condition and its onset.
Some conditions are not considered service-related, but it may be possible to demonstrate a secondary connection to your service. For instance, if you are able to show that a chronically painful disability related to military service actually caused you to become addicted to painkillers, the addiction would be a secondary condition that could receive benefits.
Finally, if your injury was caused by your own misconduct or other situation described above, you may be able to argue that your behavior was caused by a service-related condition, such as PTSD or brain injury, or due to sexual abuse or harassment. These conditions or situations would have to be demonstrated. A Discharge Upgrade or Character of Discharge review could help you become eligible for benefits.
Don’t Give Up
The information above should give you hope that, with the help of an experienced veterans’ attorney, you have a very good chance of receiving the benefits you deserve. As disabled veterans ourselves, our office is absolutely committed to helping other vets navigate the VA and get the support you deserve for the service you’ve given to our country. Reach out to us today at The Law Office of Robert B. Goss, wherever you are in the country or in the world, to see how we can help you.