Ok, in reality, there is no way to 100% guarantee your VA disability claim gets approved. You could have video evidence of your injury as well as handwritten buddy statements from 30 Marines, The Secretary of Defense, and God, and the VA would still find a way to deny your claim. However, your VA claim is a lot more likely to get approved if you seek treatment. Let’s look into this topic a little deeper.
Heather, our lead VA attorney, was discussing chronic issues recently, and we asked her to go into a little more detail. Heather explained that in order to get service connected for most physical conditions, you need to show that the disability has been an issue since your time in service. One of the ways to prove your disability is valid is seeking treatment.
For our OEF/OIF Vets it’s not too much of an issue. Most of these men and women are only a few years removed from service and are going to the VA for treatment or they seek treatment from private doctors. However, the problem usually occurs in our older Veterans. Our clients who served in Vietnam and the Veterans who served during peacetime are often missing treatment records for conditions. This is often called a gap in treatment.
Some may wonder why this is an issue. We are now over 30 years removed from the end of the Vietnam War. Most of the individuals who served then are in their 50’s and 60’s. If you want to file a back condition now without medical records from the past three decades, then you have a better chance of having a happy marriage with a Kardashian then getting your VA claim approved. The VA will not look at this as a chronic condition. They will likely argue that your back issue is a result of your age.
We also see a problem with older Veterans when it comes to their time in service versus their work history. Once again, let’s say that you haven’t sought treatment over the years. If you served two years in the Air Force then left and worked in the coal mines for 30 years, you can’t really argue that your shoulder condition is a result of your time in service if you didn’t seek treatment. Also, if you waited until you were in your late 50’s to file this claim, you are far less likely to get approved then if you did it as a part of discharge or shortly after service.
You may have noticed that I mentioned physical conditions earlier. You may wonder about mental disabilities. Do they fit into the same regulations? First of all, medical treatment is a must! Too often I hear from prospective clients that they think they have PTSD. If you haven’t received a diagnosis from a doctor, that claim will get denied. The same rule applies to seek treatment for mental disabilities. The difference is that a condition like PTSD can be diagnosed later in life and still get approved. Symptoms from these conditions often don’t appear until after an individual has been away from the traumatic situation for a while.
Since we spent a lot of this blog discussing Vietnam Vets, I want to talk about how this applies to Agent Orange presumptive conditions. Agent Orange Presumptive conditions don’t appear until later in life. Conditions like diabetes and Heart disease will manifest several years after exposure to Agent Orange.
Overall, most conditions need some form of treatment to get approved. As with most things in life, there are exceptions to the rule. However, the best way to get a majority of your claims approved is to see a doctor or seek other forms of treatment. If you would like to request a free consultation, fill out this form. Request a free copy of our book by clicking here.