After years of military service, most veterans return home with numerous injuries and health conditions, affecting their lives considerably. VA supports veterans by offering disability compensation for service-related injuries and conditions. While many veterans apply for disability compensation, a good number are rejected. VA disability lawyers are handy and increase the chances of approval, ensuring you get the much-deserved benefits. Read on to learn common reasons for disability claims denial and how to appeal.
Lack of Service Connection
Among the primary requirements for qualifying for disability benefits is having a service-connected injury and illness or a condition aggravated by military service. As such, there must be a correlation between a disability and deployment. If VA suspects your condition is not service-related, they may decline your claim. Similarly, VA may reject your claim if active service did not worsen your pre-existing condition.
Applicants must provide evidence of a service-connected injury, illness, or disability. It may include medical records, service records, buddy statements, and other supporting documents. Insufficient proof may result in a denied claim, or the applicant must provide additional documentation.
When applying for unemployment benefits, lack of evidence is a primary reason for denied claims. VA requires veterans to prove their disability hinders their ability to work or gain meaningful employment. Work history records such as job descriptions and supervisor statements are vital, and failing to avail them can hurt your claim.
Although VA has no specific deadline for submitting claims, waiting too long may adversely affect your claim. For instance, your injuries can heal, disqualifying you from compensation.
Missed deadlines concerning VA appointments and sending additional documents may result in denial. Veterans applying for disability benefits undergo compensation and pension (C&P) exams to assess their conditions. Failing to attend the exams is a solid base for denial.
No Specific Diagnosis
VA requires veterans to have a diagnosed medical condition emanating from military service. Symptoms only do not qualify as a definitive diagnosis. For instance, while you may be experiencing chronic pain affecting every aspect of your life, it is not an acceptable diagnosis. The pain should be related to a solid diagnosis like arthritis or spinal stenosis.
Too Low Disability Rating
Typically, the VA rates service-connected disabilities on a 0-100% scale. The higher the rating, the more severe the condition and the more it affects your life quality. However, disability ratings of less than 10% don’t qualify for benefits, and the VA denies any financial compensation.
How to Appeal
A denied claim can be frustrating and emotionally charged, especially if you believe you have a valid claim. Luckily, VA allows applicants to file an appeal so their application is reviewed. Veterans have one year from the denial letter date to appeal. They should file a Decision Review Request and have three appeal options –higher-level review, supplemental claims, and board appeals, depending on their needs.
Working with a skilled disability lawyer can increase the odds of a successful appeal. The lawyer reviews your application to identify errors and procedural flaws and advises accordingly. Also, they may detect mistakes by VA employees and raters and follow the required processes to rectify them. You increase the chances of an accepted appeal by working with a reputable disability attorney.
Understanding the common reasons for denied claims can help you comply with the necessary protocols and avoid mistakes that increase the likelihood of denial. The reasons for denial range from lack of service connection and definitive diagnosis to missed deadlines and inadequate evidence. A reputable lawyer can assist in fighting a wrongful denial so you get your rightful compensation.