Served on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training; and. Have a disability rating for your service-connected condition; and. Became sick or injured while serving in the military and can link this condition to your current condition.
Broadly speaking, most diseases and disabilities are eligible for VA benefits if the conditions can be connected to your military service in some way. However, there are certain conditions that the VA will not compensate you for, and you should understand these before filing a VA disability claim. Some of the most common conditions that you cannot be service-connected include conditions related to laboratory findings, obesity, congenital conditions, and conditions that arise before or after service.
The VA will not provide disability compensation for Veterans with what the VA considers laboratory findings.
Although these findings can be indicative of a disability or lead to a disability, they are not considered disabilities themselves. In particular, with elevated PSA levels, in order to get a service connection for prostate cancer, the VA requires it to be confirmed with a biopsy.
Obesity is not a condition that can be service-connected. However, it can be used as an intermediate step to service connection for other disabilities. This means that you can use obesity to help prove another condition is connected to your military service.
For example, if a service-connected back injury prevents someone from working and that leads to obesity, which then causes sleep apnea, service connection for sleep apnea can be granted on that basis.
Conditions that are considered congenital or hereditary cannot be compensated unless they were aggravated by military service. Generally speaking, these conditions are also considered “incapable of change,” and something that someone is born with. Another example of this would be personality disorders. Although most mental health disorders are considered compensable, personality disorders are considered congenital and incapable of change, and therefore not eligible for VA benefits.
If a condition is “noted” upon entry into service and is not aggravated beyond its ordinary progression by service, the condition will not be considered compensable. For example, if you had pes planus prior to service and the condition was not aggravated beyond its normal progression by your time in the military, you are not eligible for disability compensation for the condition.
If a condition arises after service, such as from a car accident that takes place after separation or between periods of active duty service, then the VA will not compensate you for it. The caveat to this general rule is that you may still be able to show that the disability should be considered secondary to a service-connected condition, or that a service-connected condition predisposed you to developing the condition.
Secondary conditions are injuries or disabilities that arose as a result of a primary service-connected disability. For example, let’s say you develop sleep apnea after service. However, you are currently service connected for PTSD. Medical evidence often links sleep apnea to PTSD, and your doctor confirmed that your sleep apnea is “at least as likely as not” caused by your PTSD. You could then file for disability compensation for sleep apnea secondary to PTSD.
Berry Law helps Veterans from all over the country appeal unfavorable VA disability ratings. If you are having trouble getting the correct disability rating for a condition that arose while you were in the military, we can help. Veterans have the right to appeal unfavorable VA decisions with the assistance of an attorney, and we helped Veterans recover over $60 million in retroactive benefits in 2020 alone.
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