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Working on a VA Appeal? Here's a Few Things to Add

Law Blog

Veterans Affairs (VA) disability claims require a lot of information for approval. With lifetime monetary compensation and medical benefits on the table, the resources need to go to the veterans who need the most--and all veterans need to be served in a timely manner. To make sure that your claim is being treated with the right amount of support, here are a few details that will make or break a successful VA claim. 

Proving Disability With Detailed Documentation

Like any disability system, VA disability requires strong proof that your condition is a disability--that is, a problem that affects you ability to live and work well. It isn't enough to simply have a condition, since some severe problems can be fixed with proper treatment. It's better to solve a problem permanently than throw money at it for a lifetime, although some veterans may just want the money.

To prove disability, you'll need official medical documentation. The best medical documentation for VA claims is an official entry in your VA medical records, with a close second being a civilian medical record that can be verified by the military during military service. If you're reading this and still in the military, copy those civilian records and make sure your base's medical command verifies and copies the information to your military medical record.

Medical records can be forged, so the VA will need to verify the information carefully. For this reason, aside from the military or the VA's medical opinion, the best medical evidence will come from a major hospital. This is to prevent veterans with relatives in medical practice from forging documents for an easy approval.

Proving Service Connection

After proving a disability, you'll need to prove that the disability is related to military service. This is actually a broad category with a lot of possible links, so finding a decent angle or story isn't difficult. Getting the official documentation is the hard part.

Just like proving disability, the best service-connection proof is from your military medical record or service record. There's nothing better than a medical officer at a major medical command signing off either for your condition or confirming that you were in an event that could have caused disability.

The second part may be worded a bit odd, but it's in your favor. Service-connected is more than being in a workplace injury in the military, or being injured in combat. It doesn't matter if you were on leave overseas, on leave at home, walking to the grocery store after work, or sitting in your barracks rooms; if you were in the military, it counts.

If you don't have official documentation of a connection, or if your documentation has been denied, you need an attorney on your side. A personal injury attorney can research your documentation, different parts of your career, and even events that happened to other military servicemembers at your duty stations.

The deep research isn't easy if you don't already have skill in navigating injury and disability claim systems, since the proof needed for service-connection could require a lot of creative angles. For example, veterans reporting pain immediately after the military, but without any medical evidence and no results after checkups may need a lawyer to point at different potential pain causes that may not be obvious without reviewing records of other VA claims and appeals.

Contact a personal injury attorney to discuss the different paths that could be taken to prove your VA claim.


12 January 2017