In our last post, we discussed the different kinds of claims available for VA Disability Benefits. But how does the VA view them? They have a specific system and jargon for identifying claims and keeping them organized during the evaluation process. In this post, we’ll briefly describe them.
To the VA, an original claim is the initial application a servicemember, veteran or survivor files with them to be considered for disability benefits.
A reopened claim is one that originally has been denied, and over a year has passed since the decision was made with no appeal from the applicant. In this case, the claim is considered finalized and can’t be reopened unless the claimant brings new material evidence to the table that was not previously used in the consideration. This evidence must directly relate to and influence the matter in question.
Not to be confused with an original or reopened claim, a new claim may or may not have previously been filed, but its decision is completely independent of any evidence submitted in connection with a previous claim. In new claims, new evidence is presented, generally having to do with an increased disability evaluation, special monthly compensation or individual unemployability, according to the VA’s website.
The VA categorizes something as a secondary claim in the case of a disability that developed due to a primary service-connected condition. They also consider illnesses or injuries that previously existed but worsened due to the primary ailment. If the first condition was service-connected and caused a second disability, that secondary disability may also be eligible for VA Disability Benefits with the proper medical evaluation and documentation.
If you have questions about VA benefits or need guidance regarding your claim, the expert staff of Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, can help you navigate your case with confidence. Call us toll-free at 1.877.526.3457 or send us an e-mail to schedule your free initial consultation today. We will fight for the benefits you deserve.