It can be incredibly frustrating when the VA denies your disability claim! Here are the top five likely reasons your claim was denied and how you can overcome them:
1. There’s no proof of your injury or condition in service
A veteran must show that their disability is related to an in-service event for direct service connection to be granted. If VA said that there was no proof of what happened in service then you need to find something to back up what you say happened. The most common evidence to prove your incident in service is service records. These can be either medical records or records of your duty stations or performance evaluations. If VA said it could not find these records and you believe that they exist then it is worth writing to the National Personal Record Center to obtain them.
Even if the records are missing, proof of an in service incident can be found through other means. Find others who served with you and have them write buddy statements describing the incident. These statements count as evidence. Also, you can look for unit records through the National Archives or records of your base, ship or unit on the internet.
2. You don’t have a current disability
To obtain service connected disability benefits your disability must have a current diagnosis. . If a Vietnam veteran is exposed to Agent Orange and then develops ALS then that is a diagnosis.
3. Your condition isn’t related to service
To get service connected benefits, you have to show that there is a link, also known as a nexus, between what happened in service and the current diagnosis. If VA says that they are not connected then it probably did so based on an exam from its own doctors, the C&P exam. If the C&P doctor says that there is no connection then you should go get an opinion from your doctor or an independent medical exam from outside doctor. You should give them the service records and medical records that explain how your current disability is related to service. You can also submit lay statements that explain the history of your condition and how it affects your daily life.
4. The VA doesn’t accept your doctor’s opinion
If you got your doctor to write a favorable opinion for your claim and VA rejected it then you need to go back and look at the opinion to see if it is thorough enough. VA routinely rejects medical opinions from treating doctors, both VA and private doctors. There are certain areas that VA always looks to in dismissing your doctor’s opinion.
Your doctor must review your VA claims folder. The doctor does not have to review the whole file, just the part relevant to your claim and state they did so in their report. An opinion that states the doctor discussed the claim with the veteran statements and nothing else will be rejected. Your doctor should use also use VA’s language that the disability is ‘it is likely as not’ related to service. Lastly, your doctor absolutely must include a rationale that states why they believe that your condition is service connected
5. You did not show up to your C&P exam
The veteran gets an automatic denial if the veteran does not attend the C&P exam. In this case, you should write VA and state why you were unable to attend the C&P exam and ask for another one. If you do not hear back from VA within two months then you should ask for a reconsideration or file an NOD and appeal the decision.