Understanding Service Connection In VA Disability Claims
If you're a veteran and dealing with conditions caused by military service, the solution isn't always simple. Although some veterans are able to get their claims approved within a year without much disagreement, some conditions and situations aren't so obviously connected to military service. If you have a condition and have medical proof that it exists, consider these service-connection details to help you understand what your Veterans Affairs (VA) regional office needs, along with what to do if you're sure they're in the wrong:
Establishing Medical Proof
Unlike the Social Security Administration's disability insurance, there are two major parts of getting approved. You have to prove that your disability is real, and that it's related to military service.
Proof must be through official documentation. Official documentation for the military means that the evidence comes from a licensed medical professional that the United States government recognizes as able to practice in the US, but even the country is not on good US terms, you should at least be able to take the results to a US medical professional for verification and signature.
Other documentation such as military service entries or official news reports are also valid. This means that if something happened to you, your service record statement of the incident or being named in a reputable news story can act as proof.
What Is A Service-Connection?
Once proof of the disability is established, you can begin proving that your condition is related to military service. Any proof that says "this condition was caused by this or these events during military service" is considered service-connected evidence.
The easiest and most successful form of service connection evidence is an official medical report included in your medical record. This will come from a licensed physician or specialist and will have the added benefit of being official, military paperwork.
The emphasis on official is important, because the scams of others are the reason why so many claims and appeals are under such scrutiny. It's not difficult to make friends with someone in medical and ask them to make a false statement to secure disability compensation. It's only slightly more difficult to get the proper forms and write your own documentation.
A grim reality of military service is that people die or become otherwise unreachable, including medical professionals on military bases. The easiest way to pull off a scam is to find someone in your record who isn't alive or wants nothing to do with the military. To combat this problem, the VA requires verification for trusted, licensed professionals. Anything else will be accepted, but seen with some scrutiny.
Legal Assistance When Scrutiny Is Too Much
If you feel like the VA is looking a little too closely at the validity of your claim, or doesn't seem to accept your story, it's time to get an attorney. You can only do so much by contacting old buddies, commands, and bases, and a lawyer can do a lot more by using their expertise to research similar claims.
Feasibility is the key, and the attorney only needs to prove that it's possible your condition was during military service. Many veterans get through the system without as much scrutiny, so the bigger challenge is proving that your regional office is either placing undue scrutiny or simply denying your claim to get through the pile faster.
Contact a law office like Banker Law Group to discuss your VA claim or appeal's future success.