What is the VA’s definition of disabled?

If you’re a veteran dealing with a physical or mental impairment incurred during active duty, have you checked to see if your condition makes you eligible for Veterans Disability Benefits?

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), “total disability will be considered to exist when there is present any impairment of mind or body which is sufficient to render it impossible for the average person to follow a substantially gainful occupation.” So if your condition has made it impossible for you to work to earn income, you may be eligible for benefits.

In terms of disability cases, the VA also considers a wide variety of illnesses, injuries, and other impairments for partial disability. You do not have to be 100% disabled to receive benefits. Their evaluations are based on a rating system that includes most medical conditions, for which they assign a percentage of disability. This information is available at your local VA office or at benefits.va.gov.

The VA also takes measures to ensure your impairment was incurred or aggravated while on active duty. This includes:

  • Active military service. Military records are necessary to prove you were injured or became ill while on active duty. You are responsible to provide evidence for any incomplete documentation.
  • A pre-existing condition or illness that worsened while on active duty. In this case, you must prove the condition became worse as a result of active duty and not as a natural progression of the injury or illness.
  • A secondary disability. You must be able to prove that an impairment that was incurred during active duty caused a secondary disability, such as medications for an illness causing permanent side effects.
  • A disability presumed to have been incurred by military service. While some presumptions apply for all veterans, others must be based on circumstances (such as particular locations or events) that have been documented to result in a specific disability.

If you are unsure your disability meets these guidelines or need help beginning your Veterans Disability Benefits application, contact the expert staff at Jan Dils Attorneys at Law today.

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