The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides disability compensation to Veterans suffering from an injury or illness caused or worsened by their active military service. Qualifying for VA benefits involves meeting both a service requirement and a condition requirement.
Military Service Requirement
Eligibility for Veterans disability benefits requires an individual to be:
- A veteran of the United States military, or
- An active service member who will be discharged sometime within the next 90 to 180 days. These individuals may use the Benefits Delivery at Discharge (BDD) program, which allows military personnel to accelerate the claim decision process and start receiving benefits more quickly.
Medical Condition Requirement
In addition to the service requirement, to qualify for benefits a Veteran must have a diagnosed medical condition related to his or her service. Consequently, a Veteran must make at least one of the following three claims:
- In-service disability claim. The Veteran became ill or was injured while in the military and can link resulting health problems directly to that service. This requires evidence of the current disability, evidence of the event that led to the disability, and medical evidence that the event caused the disability.
- Preservice disability claim. The Veteran had an illness or injury that predated the military service, and serving worsened this condition. This requires evidence that an event that occurred during service aggravated the condition.
- Postservice disability claim. The Veteran has a disability that was caused or worsened by active-duty service, which surfaced sometime after that service ended. Under federal law, some disabilities and illnesses are presumed to stem from active military service. These generally include chronic, long-lasting illness that surfaces within one year after discharge, illness caused by exposure to contaminants or hazardous materials, or illness caused by time spent as a prisoner of war.
Pursuing VA Disability Compensation Benefits
The rules and regulations pertaining to VA disability compensation benefits are numerous and complex, but an experienced disability benefits attorney can review your situation, determine how VA disability law applies to your case, gather missing evidence, and prepare the paperwork and legal arguments required to get you the compensation you are entitled to. If you have been injured while serving your country, find out how an experienced VA disability lawyer can help you develop your VA benefits claim. Give us a call today or fill out the contact form on this page.