The VA needs all available evidence to make an accurate decision on your claim. It is in your best interests to provide VA with all evidence necessary for a favorable decision in your case. If you cannot acquire the evidence yourself, you should notify the VA of its existence and request that they obtain the evidence on your behalf.
To receive service-connected compensation, you typically must demonstrate the following:
- You must have separated from active military service with a discharge other than dishonorable;
- You must have medical evidence of a current diagnosed disability;
- Evidence of an in-service illness, injury, or event; and
- Medical evidence supporting a link between the in-service illness, injury, or event and your current diagnosis.
Many veterans run into issues when they do not provide enough supporting evidence of a link between their service in their current diagnosis. Another common issue veterans face is the assignment of an incorrect disability rating.
To avoid unnecessary delays or improper claim denials, make sure you submit all the necessary evidence when you initially file your claim.
Evidence Showing Separation from Service
The first requirement to receive disability compensation can be met by providing the VA with your DD Form 214, also known as your military separation papers. This requirement usually does not cause as many issues as the other requirements for disability compensation because a DD Form 214 is fairly easy to acquire and the Veteran’s discharge status is written directly on the form.
Evidence Showing Service-Connection
To show direct service-connection, you need to provide the VA with evidence that your disability was incurred in or is due to a specific event or injury that occurred during your military service. Some examples of evidence that could support service-connection are:
- service medical records
- Pictures of your wounds or injuries
- Buddy statements from fellow veterans who knew about your injury or illness
- Separation health assessments
- Statements from your spouse, family members, or friends stating how your injury has affected you
- A statement from your doctor giving the opinion that your current disability is related to an event that happened during your military service
Evidence Proving Your Current Disability
In order to be eligible for service-connected disability compensation from the VA, you must provide medical evidence of a diagnosed disability. You will also want to document the full extent and frequency of all of your symptoms because in most cases your rating will be based on the severity of your symptoms.
Provide the VA with a doctor’s diagnosis of your current disability. Statements from friends and family members may also provide evidence of the severity of your disability and how it impacts your daily life.
For some conditions, the difference between mild symptoms and moderate symptoms can result in a higher rating. You may want to consult with a veterans attorney for assistance in thoroughly developing your claim.
If you are a veteran working to file a claim for disability benefits or want to file an appeal and need to speak with an attorney, contact one of the experienced attorneys at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick. Call our office in Providence at 401-331-6300 to receive your no-cost case evaluation.