Before you can receive disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), you must meet the agency’s strict eligibility requirements. There are numerous qualifications an applicant must meet to apply for disability benefits, and failing to meet any of them could put much-needed compensation out of reach. A diligent lawyer at our firm can offer further clarification about what these requirements entail and what evidence might be necessary to prove that you qualify for VA disability benefits.
The first and most important qualification for VA benefits is proving that your disability is a direct result of your active duty military service. Anyone who has served on active duty for any length of time in any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces is eligible to seek benefits through the VA for an injury or illness they sustained while on active duty or which was worsened by active duty service. Additionally, anyone who has participated in active duty for training or inactive duty training is also eligible to seek compensation for a service-connected disability.
There are many different ways a servicemember could get hurt or become sick during service that would qualify them to seek disability compensation from the VA. An injury or illness like tinnitus resulting from exposure to gunfire or the loss of a limb from an IED explosion, for example, would constitute disability benefits as long as you can establish a connection between your disability and an event that happened during your active service. Former servicemembers may also seek compensation for an injury or illness that existed prior to their military service but which was made worse as a direct result of that service.
Importantly, certain types of disabilities are automatically presumed to be service-connected. These include chronic illnesses that manifest within one year of discharge, illnesses stemming from time spent as a POW, and illnesses caused by exposure to hazardous chemicals or substances.
A veteran with a service-connected disability may only qualify for VA benefits if they were discharged from the military under honorable conditions. Former servicemembers who received a dishonorable discharge or were discharged due to bad conduct are generally not eligible for disability compensation from the VA.
Qualifying for VA disability benefits is only the first step of many in obtaining compensation. The application process can take a long time to conclude and will require the submission of detailed information. Even eligible applicants may not receive the benefits they need if they do not submit a comprehensive and accurate disability claim.
For this reason, retaining a skilled lawyer from our firm is advisable for anyone wishing to file a claim for disability compensation or increase the amount of benefits they are already receiving from the VA. Set up a consultation by calling our firm today, or send us an email using our online contact form.