Posted on: 12 September 2016
The Veterans Affairs (VA) claim system can be difficult to work with, since many of the requirements have exceptions that even trained professionals have problems with. You need to prove your injury or condition in a way that can't be forged by a friend in medical or a high-ranking official doing a favor for you. If your existing evidence wasn't enough or you simply don't know what kind of evidence you need, a deeper look at VA claim system traits can help you craft a more successful appeal.
Why Are Legitimate Claims Not Accepted?
To avoid wasting significant funding, the VA needs to subject every claim through a fraud prevention process. The monetary compensation—which is often lifelong compensation—and medical support with non-VA referral options are significant costs that can add up if multiple fraudulent or insufficiently affected veterans are accepted into the VA disability system with little resistance.
A successful claim must pass a service-connection test, meaning that it proves that the condition is related to military service and is a current problem. The phrase "related to military service" is broad because it encompasses all of your military career—from combat and peacetime duty to being on leave—until your end of active duty service, as well as relevant parts of military reserve service.
Although broad, the requirements are quite narrow. If you're suffering from major head pains that are worse than a normal headache and complained about it to medical, it's a start if that information is included in your medical record. If that's all the evidence you have, the VA may deny your claim or ask for more info, since anyone can claim pain. You need to have material evidence showing what might be causing the pain, such as proof of an injury, accident (currently healed or not, as long as it's documented), or medical issues such as tumors or nerve damage.
You need to show that you're currently suffering from the problem by submitting recent medical evidence. Even if you broke a limb or were involved in an accident in the past, if you're not currently suffering, you don't get compensation. You may be denied, or you may be given a 0% rating that delivers no money, but provides medical assistance if your condition worsens.
How Do You Get An Attorney To Fill In The Gaps?
If you don't know where to start with your evidence, or if your best attempt at gathering evidence wasn't good enough for the VA, consult an attorney. Unless you're a lawyer as well, you likely lack the expertise and experience needed to put together the right types of evidence.
The VA system won't do much guessing on your behalf, so you'll need to point out how your medical evidence translates to a military-related problem. For example, an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan of a tumor or muscle damage may be a passable explanation for pain, but how does it prove a connection to the military? Can it be given a date or was there an event that could have caused the damage?
In some cases, the VA doesn't need perfect connections, such as in the case of tumors. Especially if the tumor was noticed in the military or close to leaving the military, it's something that the VA could cover. It'll take an attorney to create a statement and connect you with non-VA medical professionals to get additional, detailed evidence. Not to mention faster treatment than the backlogged and sometimes slow VA system.
Contact a personal injury attorney, such as those found at Walz Law Office, to discuss your appeal details to figure out what you need to improve.Share