If you are experiencing a chronic condition that resulted from your active duty military service, you could be eligible for disability benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). While VA benefits can be life-changing for many disabled veterans, it is not unusual for most initial claims to be denied.

Denials for claims related to chronic medical conditions are especially common. It is often difficult to establish that a long-term condition is directly related to military service. The good news is that the VA presumes that certain chronic conditions relate to a former servicemember’s time in the military. To learn more about veterans’ chronic conditions claims, talk to a dedicated VA disability attorney at our firm.

Common Chronic Conditions in Veterans

Some chronic conditions commonly linked to military service result from injuries, while others involve exposure or disease. Some common chronic conditions among veterans include:

  • Cancer
  • Lou Gehrig’s Disease
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Diabetes

How to Obtain Disability Benefits for a Chronic Condition

Not all chronic conditions can be attributed to combat situations. More often, chronic conditions are the result of training exercises or logistical work. Any servicemember who suffers an injury or illness while on active duty that later causes them to suffer chronic pain could have a viable disability claim through the VA.

Filing a claim for disability compensation requires applicants to provide medical evidence that a chronic condition exists and show that some type of causal event occurred during active duty service. Finally, a veteran must establish a nexus between the specified event or series of events and their disability. For many former servicemembers, establishing a nexus is the most difficult part of the disability claims process, as it is not always clear where a chronic condition might have originated from.

If a chronic condition claim is denied, a veteran has options to appeal their case. Some appellate options allow a former servicemember to address any deficiencies or mistakes in their original claim.

The Presumption of Service Connection

The VA recognizes that some chronic conditions are more likely to be tied to military service than others. A full list of chronic conditions can be found in 38 United States Code §1101(3), some of which include:

  • Lupus
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Active tuberculosis
  • Gall stones
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Hypertension
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Epilepsies

In most cases, a chronic condition’s symptoms must become apparent within one year of discharge from the military to qualify for disability benefits. Conditions like tuberculosis, however, could still qualify for benefits if they are diagnosed within three years of discharge.

Ask an Attorney about Veterans’ Chronic Conditions Claims

Before you pursue a claim for VA benefits related to your chronic condition, it could be in your best interest to speak with an attorney first. Skilled legal counsel can assist you with building a strong case and avoiding mistakes that could lead to the denial of your claim.

An experienced VA disability attorney can improve your chances of obtaining the benefits you need for your chronic condition. Call now to learn more about veterans’ chronic condition claims from a professional.

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