Houston VA Disability Benefits Attorney – Who decides whether an injury is “service-related” and how?

The Veteran’s Affairs offers monetary benefits to U.S. Veterans who were injured or suffered an illness during active military service. Before paying these benefits, however, the VA must determine whether or not a Veteran is disabled according to the organization’s guidelines, and whether the disability is service-connected. The service-connection is a fundamental aspect of most successful VA disability benefits claims, as the VA pays benefits when an individual completed the following:

  • Service in the Uniformed Services on active duty, OR
  • Active duty for training, OR
  • Inactivity duty for training, AND
  • Discharged under other than dishonorable conditions, AND
  • The veteran is at least 10% disabled by an injury or disease

As such, when the VA makes a determination regarding your VA disability benefits, one of the initial things they consider is the service connection. In this post, we’ll discuss the VA disability claim process and who decides the service-connection. In the meantime, if you’re attempting to recover disability benefits from the VA, and you need legal representation, call Houston VA disability benefits attorney William Herren today at (713) 682-8194.

Houston VA Disability Benefits Attorney | Service-Related Injuries

How the VA Determines Direct and Presumptive Service Connection

To establish the connection between the veteran’s service and an injury or illness, the VA may consider the chronicity of the disability shown in service. For example, the evidence for chronicity must include:

  • Identifiable symptoms of the disease or injury
  • Observations to show that the disease or injury is chronic and not an isolated incident

The VA can determine a direct and presumptive service connection based on the continuity of symptoms when a disability was noted in-service. Additionally, a service-connection can be made for an illness or injury that was diagnosed after the veteran’s service had ended. However, evidence in this case must show that the injury or illness was incurred in service.

There are many other factors that the VA considers when making a decision on a service-connection. For instance, the VA may consider the veteran’s presumption of soundness, the presumptive service connection for chronic and tropical diseases, the presumptive service connection for radiogenic diseases, and others.

How the VA Determines Whether an Injury Occurred In-Service

The VA will examine your claim to make sure that it’s for an injury or disease that has a service connection. However, to conclude whether the injury occurred in-service, the VA also looks at the evidence available from your active service. For instance, the VA will look at:

  • The circumstances of your injuries
  • Any evidence of scars, including examination reports of scars
  • Evidence for combat-related disabilities

How the VA Determines If a Known Existing Injury Was Aggravated In-Service

Veterans can also receive disability benefits if a known, existing injury was aggravated during the veteran’s active service. To determine aggravation of pre-service injuries, the VA may consider:

  • The veteran’s presumption of soundness when he/she entered the service
  • The medical records that can determine a baseline of pre-service injury
  • The circumstances that led to the aggravation
  • Whether there are flare-ups of the pre-existing injury or disease
  • The usual effects of medical or surgical treatment

Remember, for this type of VA disability benefit, the veteran usually has to prove that the injury or disease was made worse due to circumstances that occurred in active-duty.

Call VA Disability Lawyer William Herren Today

Making the connection between a veteran’s injury or disease and his/her service in the U.S. Military or National Guard is not an easy determination, which is why it’s essential to include all of the necessary information within your VA disability benefits claim. For this reason, it’s wise to have an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to provide you legal counsel, guide you through the VA disability claim process, and represent your case. For a free consultation with Houston disability benefits attorney William Herren, call our Houston TX law firm today at (713) 682-8194.

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