The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides monetary benefits to retired servicemembers living with disabilities. Qualifying disabilities must be directly related to a veteran’s active duty service. Proving this requires evidence of a nexus between the veteran’s condition and their military service.
Proving a nexus in a VA disability claim can be challenging. Fortunately, the VA presumes that many conditions are connected to military service even without evidence of a nexus. To learn more about presumptive service-connected conditions, it is best to consult with an experienced attorney at our firm.
For most VA disability claims, a veteran seeking benefits must provide a nexus between their impairment and an event which took place during their military service that caused it. There are exceptions to this rule, thanks to the VA’s list of presumptive service-connected conditions. In other words, there are certain disabling conditions that the VA presumes are related to military service.
This means a veteran could obtain benefits for a disability even if they are unable to provide evidence connecting it to their time in the military. Only the conditions named in the VA’s list of presumptive conditions qualify. Some examples include:
Some former servicemembers qualify for presumptive service connections based on when and where they served. For example, Vietnam veterans who were exposed to the chemical Agent Orange and now suffer from conditions like diabetes type II or prostate cancer have a presumption service connection.
Former prisoners of war who live with psychosis, heart disease, or the effects of frostbite also presumptively qualify for disability benefits from the VA. Veterans of the Gulf War who displayed symptoms of a disability by the end of 2016 have a presumption of service connectivity for fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, among other conditions.
While the VA acknowledges certain presumptive service-connected conditions, this presumption is not limitless. For many disabilities, the VA only presumes a service connection if the diagnosis occurs shortly after discharge from the military. For certain conditions like arthritis, diabetes mellitus, and leukemia, the diagnosis must manifest to a 10 percent degree within one year of discharge under honorable conditions.
For other conditions, the time between a disabled veteran’s discharge and diagnosis can be as much as three years. There are even conditions – such as Lou Gehrig’s Disease – that qualify as presumptive for the remainder of a former servicemember’s life.
Benefits could still be available for conditions that do not show symptoms until after the time limit for presumptive service connection expires. These claims will require evidence of a nexus between the disability and a service-related event. This can make it challenging for a veteran to obtain the disability benefits they need. Fortunately, our attorneys are here to help.
A lawyer on our team can help you determine whether your condition qualifies for presumptive service-connection by the VA. To learn more, set up a confidential consultation at our firm today.