Disability Lawyers in Lancaster PA Share the Four Requirements for Obtaining Veterans Service-Connected Disability Compensation
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There are four basic requirements that every veteran must meet in order to establish a service-connected injury for their Veterans Disability Compensation Application.
- The first requirement deals with the veteran’s discharge status. In order to be eligible for VA disability benefits, a veteran’s character of discharge generally must be under other than dishonorable conditions. If you are unable to remember or are not sure of your character of discharge, you can find it on your DD 214. Specifically, look for Honorable, Under Honorable Conditions, or General as these will make you eligible for benefits. In some cases, individuals who received dishonorable discharges (such as Undesirable or Bad Conduct) may still be eligible for benefits upon a determination by Veterans Affairs (VA).
- Second, the veteran must have a documented in-service event or injury. The easiest way to prove this is generally through the veteran’s service treatment records; however, a veteran may also prove this through lay testimony. For example, let us say a combat veteran finishes his time-in-service and after discharge begins showing symptoms for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In order to prove his in-service event, he may testify or provide statements that he was involved in combat while serving.
- Third, the veteran must have a current disability. Disabilities need not be physical in nature. For example, a diagnosis of depression or PTSD would satisfy the disability requirement.
- Fourth, and finally, the Veteran must be able to show a nexus between the in-service event or injury and the veteran’s current disability. Essentially, the veteran must show that what happened to him in-service is why he or she currently suffers from a disability. This is often and most easily proven through a medical opinion. When establishing a nexus, the veteran will also likely need to rule out events that have happened since service. For example, a veteran who suffers from hearing loss will want to show that any of the work he or she has done since discharge has not damaged his or her ears. A veteran with hearing loss who works in an office will have much less difficulty showing this compared to a veteran who works in a factory with loud equipment.
If these elements are proven, a veteran can receive service-connection. It should be noted that this is only a general outline to achieving service-connection. Different issues can call for different legal arguments and standards. Some injuries can be more difficult to prove than others.
If you have been denied service-connection for benefits, contact us. Unfortunately, it is very common for veterans to be denied benefits that they are otherwise entitled. At Rankin & Gregory, we will take on the bureaucrats so that you don’t have to and we will not take a fee unless you receive a favorable decision.
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Talk with an RG Injury Law PA Veterans Disability Lawyer today. Email or call 717.656.5000.
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