This can refer to physical conditions, such as a back injury, or a disease or illness (such as diabetes or cancer), or mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Documented Event In Service
Although an eligible period of service varies from benefit to benefit, it would be active duty service for a specified length of time during a specific period of time, e.g. 90 days total service with at least one day within a period of war.
• A verifiable stressor
A stressor can be a single incident or event (vehicle rollover, explosion, exposure) that caused an injury, illness, or health condition that is documented and can be substantiated. The stressor can also be a period of time during an active duty deployment, such as Vietnam, Iraq, or Afghanistan.
A Link Between the Two
• Continuity of treatment
Medical documentation detailing treatment of the injury, disease, or illness since discharge.
• A disease subject to presumptive service connection (38 CFR 3.309)
Certain diseases or conditions have been granted automatic service connection following service in a period of war on or after Jan. 1, 1947. You can find a list of presumptive diseases here under the “Service Connection” heading.
• Credible medical opinion
This is a letter from a specialist — not a general practioner — that adds to a veteran’s medical documentation that states the veteran’s condition was more likely than not caused or aggravated by active duty service.