Getting an injury while on active military duty is not uncommon. Due to the grueling physical nature of military duties, injuries easily happen. Some injuries are minor and some are severe. Service men and women can even have injuries before they ever put on their fatigues. When veterans have injuries that happened prior to joining the military, these injuries are called, “pre-existing conditions.” If a veteran feels they qualify for VA benefits for pre-existing conditions there are a few steps they should be aware of.
When applying for VA benefits for pre-existing conditions, vets will need to first prove their injury or disability was medically diagnosed before engaging in military activities. The easiest way to do this is to show the VA the entrance medical exam. Most likely the doctor who conducted the entrance exam will note the disability on the appropriate form.
If the disability is not noted on the entrance exam, veterans will need to get written proof from a doctor stating the condition was pre-existing. Ideally vets will get a signed letter from the doctor as well as medical records supporting the letter.
If there are no medical records or doctor’s letter veterans will have a tough time proving to the VA the condition was pre-existing. If this happens, it is highly recommended veterans contact a lawyer who is knowledgeable in VA procedures.
After veterans prove the disability was pre-existing, they will need to show the disability was aggravated or made worse due to military service. There does not need to be a particular event that aggravated the disability, but it can’t be made worse by a natural progression of the disability. If the VA can definitively prove the disability would have gotten worse regardless of service, they can deny benefits.
Symptoms that are only temporary or are considered “flare-ups” do not qualify for benefits. A disability must have permanent symptoms to qualify.
Veterans who can prove their disability was pre-existing and was made worse by military service should consider applying for VA benefits for pre-existing conditions. With the help of a qualified VA attorney like, Jan Dils Attorneys at Law, veterans can get the benefits they need.