In general, in order for the VA to grant service connection for a disability to qualify veterans for disability compensation, veterans usually have to prove three things: 1) a current diagnosed disability; 2) in-service incurrence of diagnosed disability; and 3) evidence or a nexus linking the current disability and the in-service incurrence of the disability.
Sometimes there is not an in-service incurrence of a disability, but events experienced in military service give rise to a disabling condition over time. Under these circumstances, a veteran may show what is called continuity of symptomatology.
Continuity of symptomatology means that the symptoms caused by the condition recurred regularly, without some intervening cause, up to the date of the claim. Usually VA considers continuity of symptomatology when the course of an illness is chronic. Ongoing hypertension that first arose during service is an example.
VA may also consider continuity for service connection where a disease manifests after military service, if there is a showing of continuity of symptomatology and medical evidence relates the symptomatology (or the continuous symptoms) to the veteran’s current condition.
Post traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a common example. Even where there is not a diagnosis in service, if there is continued syptomatology – flashbacks, nightmares, panic attacks – a veteran may be service connected, despite the absence of a diagnosis in service; however, most cases are going to require medical evidence to assist the VA with establishing the cause of the continued symptomatology.
Showing continuity of symptomatology is not always this clear cut. As a result, it may be necessary to work with advocates who have experience in this area. Attorneys at the Berry Law Firm can help. We are experts in gathering evidence to show continuity of symptomatology to prove service connection. Please call us at 1.888.883.2483.
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