Five Reasons Your Veterans’ Disability Application Might Be Denied

An application for veterans’ disability benefits through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) can be a deceptively simple process. On the one hand, if everything goes well, you may go from an initial application to approval within a week or two. Unfortunately, there are many potential pitfalls you could fall into without realizing it. Here are five reasons your veterans’ disability application might be denied:

  1. Lack of evidence of your medical condition
    • One of the most important parts of your application for veterans’ disability benefits is the medical evidence of your disability. If your disability became apparent during your military service, this could mean evidence straight from the VA. On the other hand, if you did not start experiencing the symptoms of your disability until after you served, the evidence would come from outside doctors, therapists, or hospitals where you were treated. If there is not enough evidence demonstrating the nature or severity of your disability, your application might be denied.
  2. Lack of evidence tying your condition to your service
    • It is not enough to have a disability with medical evidence to back it up. You also need to demonstrate that your disability, whether physical or psychological in nature, is tied to your military service. In some cases, this is fairly simple, such as those who have a limb amputated due to being harmed during your service. In other cases, such as those who suffer psychological impairments or who are exposed to cancer-causing chemicals, it can be harder to tie your condition to your service. If you cannot prove your disability is the result of your service, your application may be denied.
  3. Your service worsened a pre-existing condition
    • A corollary to the above is what happens when you already suffer from a medical condition that was previously manageable, but which became unmanageable due to your military service. For example, a psychological disorder like major depression could be worsened due to circumstances experienced during military service, or an existing respiratory condition like asthma could be worsened by exposure to toxins during service. While the VA does give benefits to people who are harmed in this way, it can be difficult to prove whether the worsening of your condition is related to your service.
  4. Your disability did not manifest until after service
    • While many disabilities incurred as a result of military service are immediately obvious, some do not become apparent until months or even years afterwards. For example, a psychological condition caused by trauma experienced during military service might not become apparent until long after someone has returned home, or exposure to toxic chemicals might not cause illness until long afterwards. This delay between when you are harmed and when you first experience the symptoms of your harm can make it harder to tie your disability to your service.
  5. You filled out your paperwork incorrectly
    • Finally, there is the most embarrassing way you can have your application denied: you filled out your paperwork incorrectly. While applying for veterans’ disability benefits does not need to be difficult, even a single error can result in your application being denied. That is why you should consult with professionals experienced in handling veterans’ disability matters to ensure you get everything right the first time.


The attorneys of Sullivan & Kehoe place a special focus on assisting disabled veterans. Our veterans’ disability lawyers are still available for remote consultation on your legal issues. Call our office at (800) 395-7830 to schedule a consultation in our New York City, Garden City, Kings Park, Riverhead, or White Plains office, or visit our contact page.

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