Injuries among active-duty veterans are common, even among those who are never deployed outside of the United States. While being in combat may lead to a substantial number of physical injuries among active-duty veterans, the reality is that these injuries can occur during any time while in service.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a program that pays benefits to veterans who suffer from a disability that stems from their active duty service. These benefits cover any injuries, whether they occurred in combat, during training, or in accidents while on base. Despite this coverage, the VA routinely denies viable claims from injured veterans. Fortunately, an attorney could help a veteran file a physical condition claim and work through any obstacles that might arise during the process.
The VA offers monetary compensation in the form of tax-free monthly direct payments to injured veterans. These injuries must result from their time on active duty. Unlike a civil lawsuit, there is no time limit on when a veteran can apply for these claims.
Not every veteran will be entitled to disability benefits following an injury. There are important eligibility requirements that a veteran must meet to obtain the compensation they are seeking. There are two basic requirements every applicant filing a veteran physical condition claim must meet. First, they must have served on active duty, inactive duty training, or active duty for training. Second, the applicant must have a disability rating resulting from a condition that resulted from their service.
There are multiple physical conditions that could lead to VA disability benefits. The most common are injuries or illnesses that occur while serving on active duty. Known as in-service disability claims, these physical conditions can include anything from a wound in combat to an illness due to toxic exposure while serving on active duty. To successfully recover benefits on these claims, a veteran must link their condition to their active service. This is often straightforward, at least for injuries, as the military has records of any emergency medical care that a veteran receives.
The second type of condition that might be covered by VA benefits could occur prior to military service. While some pre-existing conditions might not qualify, others can. The determining factor is whether or not the applicant’s military service made the condition worsen. An example could include a pre-existing back injury that results in severe disability after a training accident makes the back injury worse.
Finally, post-service claims stem from a disability that may appear after a veteran’s service is complete. The VA presumes that certain disabilities were caused by military service. If a presumed condition is diagnosed in a certain group due to exposure, they can be awarded disability compensation. There are many different groups that the VA has presumed to be awarded disability compensation, such as the following:
However, if a symptom or condition was caused during active service but only became apparent later, it could result in a successful VA claim for physical condition benefits due to the result of exposure while on active duty.
While it is possible to appeal a denied claim, the best option for most veterans is to make the strongest case possible upfront. An experienced attorney could evaluate a veteran’s physical condition claim and advise them during the filing process. You could be entitled to compensation for your disability resulting from your active duty service. To learn more, call for a confidential consultation today.