What Determines Your Veterans’ Disability Benefits Ruling?

When the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) issues its ruling on your veterans’ disability benefits, you might have a lot of questions about it. The process can be pretty opaque, and if you do not know what is involved, it may not make a lot of sense. If you keep in mind just a few things, though, you can better understand how the VA may have come to its conclusion:

  1. Evidence of one or more disabilities
    • This may seem obvious, but in order to get veterans’ disability benefits, you must have an actual, diagnosable medical condition that impairs your ability to work or perform daily tasks. This means your condition must be formally diagnosed, either by a doctor working for the VA or by a private physician. If you do not have medical evidence of your disability for the VA to review, you should not expect to get any disability benefits.
  2. The severity of your disabilities
    • Having a diagnosed medical condition is only the first step, however. Millions of Americans live with disabilities but do not draw disability benefits. This is because disability benefits are meant for people who have difficulty working or taking care of themselves. If your disability is not severe enough to cause a significant impairment, you are unlikely to be approved for disability benefits.
  3. The extent to which you have followed your prescribed treatment
    • One of the factors that can affect your disability benefits ruling is whether you have followed medical treatment prescribed by your doctor. This is because someone with a disability that can be managed through medical treatment does not require the same level of assistance as someone whose condition is more severe. If you are impaired by your disability, but have either ignored medical advice or failed to adhere to their treatment plan, the VA may choose to deny your claim for benefits.
  4. The connection between your disabilities and your service
    • Veterans’ disability benefits are intended to specifically cover disabilities that arise as a result of your military service. Even if you have a severe disability, you will not receive benefits from the VA if you cannot demonstrate your disability was the result of your service. The longer the amount of time between your service and your diagnosis, the harder you may have to fight to get benefits from the VA.
  5. Whether you had a pre-existing condition
    • While VA benefits do cover people who had a previous medical condition that worsened as a result of your service, you still need to prove your condition was worsened. If you try to simply get benefits for a condition you already had prior to your service, you may be denied. Ensuring your medical records are thorough is an important way of defeating this common obstacle to obtaining disability benefits.

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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