I know I can often sound like a corrupt MP3 file-that’s a broken record for my older readers-but I can’t stress how important medical evidence is for any Veterans Disability claim. While a lack of treatment as a whole is bad for your case, a gap in treatment can be just as bad. Granted, this isn’t as much of an issue for Veterans who are returning home from recent conflicts. We see this problem mostly in Veterans who served in Vietnam, the 80’s or even the early 90’s during Desert Storm.
A classic scenario I hear all of the time from Veterans is that they were hurt while serving, chose not to report the injury, and want to get the injury service connected 20-30 years later. That simply isn’t going to happen. (Different rules apply for presumptive conditions or certain mental disabilities like PTSD.) Recently I was speaking with a Veteran who served during the Vietnam Era who wanted to file a claim for his back. I asked a few follow up questions. First I asked if he had any specific incidents while serving. He replied that he did not have an injury, but just believed it was from carrying a heavy backpack while training. I asked if he had any treatment while serving on his back, and he replied no. I then asked that in the 40 plus years since he was discharged if had sought treatment. He said not until 2005. The final question I asked was what type of work he did in the civilian world. His response was that he hung drywall for 26 years.
One thing that Heather, our lead VA attorney, constantly preaches about is chronic disabilities. In other words your disability has to be an issue for you consistently over time. (Once again different rules apply for presumptive conditions and mental disabilities.) This Veteran stated that he did not have a specific injury while serving and didn’t seek treatment until decades after he was discharged. Also, and this is a “biggie” in the eyes of the VA, is type of work in the civilian world is a major cause of back issues. The VA will look at the fact that he did not apply for benefits or seek treatment until after he worked in the drywall industry for years as a negative. We can be led to believe that his injuries came from his line of work, and not his time in the military.
We encourage all of our Veterans to seek treatment for their disabilities. We know that it may be difficult with all of the uncertainty with the VA, but it’s important. If you can’t receive treatment at the VA, and can’t afford treatment from a civilian doctor, try to make use of free clinics, or even keep a journal of your issues.
If you would like to know more about what we can do for a VA Disability Claim, or if you would like a free consultation, give me a call today. 1-877-526-3457. You can also fill out this form so that we may contact you.