If you have an injury, condition or disease that you believe was caused or aggravated by your military service, we can help you build a strong, viable claim for service connected benefits, including health benefits and tax-free compensation payments, which currently range from $1,598 to $39,304 annually (most recent VA statistics, 2013). These figures are dependent on eligibility, rating and statute.
Choosing to take the time and effort to gather evidence and proof documents up front, and giving the VA all the information needed to make a decision on your claim is the best choice to make.
A strong and complete claim helps to avoid delays for development (the VA asking for more information) or a denial (requiring further review or appeal).
Here is how to get started
Step 1: Know what it takes to have a viable claim. Review the required elements here. Click here
- 1. A current diagnosis
- 2. An event or stressor
- 3. A link between the two
Step 2: Understand how the VA considers whether your injury, condition, or disease is service-connected. Click here
- 1. Direct connection
- 2. Aggravated
- 3. Secondary
- 4. Presumptive
- 5. Title 38 USC 1151 claims (malpractice)
Step 3: Talk to your doctor(s) Click here for a Physician Medical Statement
What you should know about medical evidence
The VA uses a standard of proof in deciding compensation claims in which the veteran is afforded the benefit of the doubt. However, the claim must have competent, credible supporting evidence before the benefit of the doubt standard is applied. (38 USC 5107, 38 CFR 3.102, Gilbert v. Derwinski, 1 Vet.App. 49, 1990)
It is important for your evidence to be competent and credible. The VA evaluates your medical evidence by looking at the following elements per M21-1MR, Part III, Subpart iv, Chapter 5, Section 5(c):
- 1. The basis for the physician’s opinion (such as through observation, testing, reports)
- 2. The physician’s knowledge of your medical and relevant personal history
- 3. How long you have been treated by the physician
- 4. Why you saw the physician (treatment, substantiation of a medical disability claim)
- 5. The physician’s expertise and experience
- 6. How specific the physician is in his/her medical opinion
- 7. How certain the physician is in his/her medical opinion
Final Step: Assemble your claim packet with the proper forms, mandatory and recommended proof documents.
You will know that your claim packet is the best that it can be when you can say with confidence that your claim packet accurately reflects your story — when and where you served, what happened, the resulting symptoms, diagnosis and treatment, and a clear connection between those elements.