When you try to apply for veterans’ disability benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (also known as the VA), you need to demonstrate that you are qualified to obtain those benefits under the law. This means you need to have the right evidence available to prove your claim. But what kinds of evidence will you need in order to get your claim approved and obtain VA disability benefits?
- Records related to military service
- The first set of records you will need are those detailing your military service, particularly your DD214 or other separation documents. This is important because VA disability benefits are only available to people who were not dishonorably discharged. If you do not have these relevant documents, you will not be able to get your benefits claim approved.
- Service treatment records
- You should also have any medical records for any injuries or illnesses you suffered while in your military service. Normally, the VA is supposed to obtain these records for you, without you needing to do anything on your part. However, if there are any difficulties in finding these records, it may require some effort to help track them down so you can obtain your disability benefits.
- Records from private doctors
- In many cases, veterans do not have their disability treated while in the military, especially if their disability does not become apparent until after they are discharged. This may include psychological issues like PTSD, or cancers related to toxic exposure, which may take months or years to manifest. In this case, obtaining VA disability benefits will require you to submit medical records from your private doctor.
- Proof that condition is related to service
- You also need to be able to demonstrate that your medical condition is somehow related to your service. This usually involves a combination of medical records, as well as other documentary evidence or witness testimony, indicating your disability was caused by (or worsened by) your military service. If you have a disability but it is not service-related, you will not be eligible for VA disability benefits.
- Evidence of unemployability
- You may also need to submit evidence that your disability substantially impairs your ability to work or perform daily tasks. This can help to demonstrate not just that you have a disability, but also the severity of your disability. This includes medical evidence, as well as a completed Veteran’s Application for Increased Compensation Based on Unemployability (VA Form 21-8940) and a completed Request for Employment Information in Connection with Claim for Disability Benefits (VA Form 21-4192).
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.