If you are a Veteran of the armed forces and are applying for Veterans disability benefits, you must provide evidence that supports your claim. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will review this supporting documentation in determining whether you qualify for benefits. You do not want your claim denied because you did not provide sufficient medical and other evidence that establishes that you are eligible for disability benefits.
Medical Evidence That You Should Collect to Support Your VA Disability Claim
In order to be eligible for VA disability benefits, a Veteran must show that he has a current physical or mental disability that is connected to his military service. The disability must limit his ability to carry on his daily activities and to work. Medical records are crucial to proving the current disability and that it is service-related. Types of medical evidence that can help includes:
- In-service medical records. Medical records while a Veteran was enlisted can be helpful to show the link between the disability and his service. Enlistment examinations, sick calls, hospitalizations, and discharge examinations are some of the useful medical records that can support a disability claim.
- Private medical records. If the Veteran is being treated by a private physician for his disability, he should provide the VA with his doctor reports, hospitalization records, X-rays, and other diagnostic test results that are related to his claim.
- VA medical records. If the Veteran has been treated at a VA medical center, he will want to obtain the medical records for his treatment to submit to the VA to substantiate the disability.
- Medical opinion. In addition to medical records, it can be helpful to obtain a medical opinion of a treating physician as to the Veteran’s disability and how it was caused by his military service.
When Medical Evidence May Not Be Required
It is always best to submit medical evidence when filing a disability case. However, in limited circumstances, the VA may find a link between a Veteran’s disability and his service without these records. Here are some situations when this may apply:
- The Veteran developed a chronic, long-lasting illness within one year of discharge.
- The illness was caused by contact with toxic chemicals or other hazardous substances.
- The illness was caused by the Veteran’s time as a prisoner of war.
Do you need assistance filing an application for VA disability benefits or filing an appeal? Our VA disability attorneys are here to help. Call our office to schedule a free consultation to learn more about your right to VA disability benefits.