Friday, November 15, 2013

Service Connection: How to Prove It? Pt. 2

Pt. 2:    Proving Injury in Service

Once you’ve proven you are a veteran, how do you prove that your current disability was caused by something that happened to you in the service?

The VA can pay compensation for a condition that was incurred in service, for a condition that existed before entry into service that was aggravated during service, or for a disability related to a disease that is statutorily presumed to be related to service.

If you were injured or contracted a disease while in the service, and you are currently suffering from a disability, you have to prove that the injury or disease occurred while you were in the service, that there was medical evidence of your injury or disease while you were in service, and you must provide medical evidence that you are currently disabled.  There should be some evidence in your military records that an incident occurred, or that you contracted a disease while you were in the service.  If there is no evidence of the incident in your record, you can use your own statement and or statements of those who were with you when the incident happened to prove that you were injured.  Then, the VA may be required to get your military healthcare records from military hospitals and doctors that show that you were treated for an injury while you were in service.  The VA may also be required to help you get a medical exam to show the current disability.   Although the VA may have a requirement to get your military healthcare records, if your injury or disease occurred many years before your present disability, you may want to write to the hospitals yourself to get the records.  You will need to remember the approximate dates of treatment, along with your name, social security number, and any other information you can think of that might help them find your records.   Some of the military hospitals have closed, so you may have to do some research on where the medical records were sent when the facility closed.

To prove an aggravated service-connected condition, you must show that you had a condition before you entered the service.  Your service entrance medical records should show the evidence of the condition.  Then, you will need to be able to show that an incident occurred that caused the condition to get worse while you were in the service.  This evidence should be in medical records of treatment in military or civilian hospitals while you were still on active duty.  If there is no evidence of an incident that aggravated the condition, you will have to show that your current disability is not the result of the normal progression of the disease.

We discuss presumptive service-connected diseases in subsequent posts. 

Establishing a claim for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder requires that you provide a statement about a traumatic event, or “stressor” that occurred during service, that you have a diagnosis of PTSD, and an opinion that a VA psychologist or psychiatrist believers that the stressor was sufficient to cause PTSD.

Proving a service-connected disability may seem daunting.  However, veteran’s service organizations are there to help.  Click this link to find a chart of state veteran’s service organizations. Just click on your state and find the closest state VA office.

Archived Posts


The Elrod-Hill Law Firm,LLC assists clients with Estate Planning, Veterans Benefits, Medicaid, Elder Care Law, Probate, Special Needs Planning and Pet Trusts in the North Atlanta area including the counties of Dekalb, Gwinnett and Fulton.

© 2023 The Elrod-Hill Law Firm,LLC | Disclaimer
5425 Peachtree Pkwy, NW, Peachtree Corners, GA 30092
| Phone: 770-416-0776

Talks & Seminars | Veterans Benefits | Estate Planning | Probate / Estate Administration | Guardianship / Conservatorship | Claiming Veterans Benefits | Medicaid Planning | Special Needs Planning | Elder Care Law | Pet Trusts | Advanced Estate Planning | Upcoming Events | Probate Basics (VIDEO)