Organizing A VA Disability Claim After Denial

The branches of the military are not always the best at explaining how to leave. Your medical issues may be significant, but not enough to warrant a medical discharge. If you've left the military with more wear and tear than expected or have begun suffering from issues caused by your military service, but have been denied Veterans Affairs (VA) disability compensation, you'll need to get your paperwork in better shape as you appeal. Consider a few parts of the VA claim system and ways to make your claim more successful the second (or third) time around.

What Conditions Will The VA Compensate?

The VA provides disability compensation for veterans who were injured during military service. This doesn't just mean combat injuries or extremely traumatic situations; if you've broken your leg, suffered lung damage from inhaling debris, injured your back or suffered anything that could use a paid professional's help, you can make a claim for it.

Injuries must pass a service-connected test that proves the injury's validity. It must have happened within active duty or reserve service and must be severe enough to warrant compensation. The first part is fairly straight forward, but severity can be argued extensively; if it affects your life, you should seek assistance.

Providing the time period of your injury is simple if you have the paperwork, but your paperwork must be clear about the injury. If you have a broken leg, you need a medical record entry explaining that situation. If you're suffering from dizziness, vertigo, nausea or sleep trouble that you believe was caused by military service, you need to have complained about it or visited a medical professional during your military service--again, with a medical record entry. It has to be official.

There are times where the medical record isn't enough. For headaches or any pain that can't be easily explained, you'll need to find some sort of cause. The VA has a list of presumptive disabilities (listed in this PDF document) that can be claimed, but require additional medical research.

A personal injury lawyer may be needed at this point. The presumptive evidence may need to come from an independent medical professional instead of the VA's system, especially since the VA suffers excessive wait times. The lawyer is necessary to argue that, from a legal standpoint, the injury evidence found by your medical team is valid. If there's other information needed, such as witness statements and missing record information, it'll take a lawyer to get access to certain information.

What If The Injuries Aren't Military Related?

Maybe your injuries or conditions happened after the military, or you may be in dire need of medical assistance during the appeal process. The VA does have a few health benefits for veterans not on the VA disability program.

There are a few different benefit levels with different requirements, but for the most part you only need to be a veteran with an honorable discharge from active duty or reserve service. If you received an other than honorable (but not dishonorable) discharge, you only need to ask about your specific situation.

While you're working on an appeal, there is a way to get assistance while you're at your opponent. If you're suffering from a common cold, allergies or other basic issues, bring it up during your disability review. Instead of having to pay for expensive medication, the doctor can examine you and write a prescription or schedule another appointment to look at that issue further.

For veterans in good health or not in the compensation process, there are still relatively low payment requirements at your local VA clinics and hospitals. Contact a personal injury attorney to push for appeal success and to get the benefits you deserve.