Denials of VA disability claims are all too common. The process to apply for disability benefits can be long and frustrating, and a denial can feel like an earth shattering defeat. But there is hope. By understanding why your claim was denied, you can make a plan to appeal.
Top Reasons VA Claims Are Denied
The following three reasons are the most likely reasons your VA benefits claim may be denied.
1. No Current Disability
If you file for disability, you need to prove that you have a current disability. “Current” indicates that you experience the effects and symptoms of the disability when you file.
There is no requirement for a formal diagnosis. The VA may reject your claim due to lack of a diagnosis, but this reasoning alone isn’t actually legal. The law indicates that diagnosis is unnecessary for disability eligibility.
Chronic pain cases are the most frequent cases without a diagnosis. Pain cannot be diagnosed formally, but it leads to severe impairment and loss of function. As long as the condition impairs your ability to work and function, and as long as the condition was related to your military service, you are still eligible for benefits.
2. Lack of In-Service Proof
To receive compensation from the VA, your disability must be related to your service. Your claim may be denied if the VA decides that there is not sufficient evidence that your condition was service-related.
The condition does not need to have been caused by the service. But if some aspect of your service exacerbated the condition, you’re eligible for compensation. Some examples of in-service events include:
- Training accidents that cause injuries
- Exposure to loud noises that damage hearing
- Witness to traumatic and violent events
- Injuries sustained in the line of duty
3. No Medical Nexus
So you’ve proven that you have a disability and that it was related to your service. Now you need a nexus opinion. This opinion is provided by a healthcare professional. It links your current symptoms or condition to a certain event or circumstance in your service. Most nexus opinions are provided by VA doctors after they do a C&P exam.
If the VA doctor denies the link, you can seek a private doctor’s opinion and submit additional testimony and evidence in support of your case.
What to Do After a Denial
Initial claims are often denied. Thankfully, there is an appeals process for the VA.
Here is what you should do if your disability claim was denied:
- File your Notice of Disagreement to start the appeals process with the VA.
- For DRO reviews, you’ll be asked to give information about the problems being reviewed.
- A DRO hearing is scheduled after this information is provided.
- If this is denied, you can file Form Nine with the VA to bring your appeal to be reviewed by the BVA.
- This appeal must be filed within 60 days after your case’s statement was initially mailed.
- You must identify the law or factual error that is supporting your appeal, along with the benefits you need.
If you start with the BVA appeal, a summary of your denial will be prepared and sent to you by the VA. Your official BVA appeal must be filed within 60 days of this document’s date. After several months of waiting, the BVA will send a letter with instructions. You will undergo a case hearing with a member of the BVA board.
Finally, the board member will issue a judgment: granting the benefits, denying them, or moving the case back to the VA due to insufficient information. A VA benefits attorney can increase your chances of success with the application process.
” This article is a collaboration with a freelance writer and follows The Haitian Times publishing guidelines”
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