When applying for service-connected compensation, you must provide a nexus between your military service and your current, diagnosed condition. There are several ways to establish service connection for your condition. In some cases, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) presumes service connection for veterans who develop specific medical conditions during active duty service.
TYPES OF SERVICE CONNECTION
Service connection can be established in one of the following ways:
- Direct service connection
- Presumptive service connection
- Secondary service connection
- 1151 service connection
DIRECT SERVICE CONNECTION
Direct service connection involves a connection between a veteran’s military service and a veteran’s current, diagnosed condition.
To establish direct service connection, we can draw upon medical records, military service history, physicians’ statements, and opinions from experts.
PRESUMPTIVE SERVICE CONNECTION
The VA presumes certain conditions to be service-connected if a veteran meets certain criteria.
Presumptive service connection includes exposure to herbicide agents. This presumption applies to veterans who were exposed to herbicides during their time in service, such as those stationed in Vietnam, and have a certain medical condition as a result.
A Veterans service organisation or a veterans disability lawyer can review your service and medical records to determine if you are entitled to presumptive service connection.
You can also establish service connection if your military service aggravated a preexisting condition.
For example, you may have injured your knee prior to service, but certain training exercises worsened the condition. You may be entitled to service connection based on aggravation if you can prove that your military service caused your knee condition to get worse. Additionally, if you have a service-connected back condition that aggravates a non-service-connected neck condition, you may be able to get service connection for your neck based on aggravation.
SECONDARY SERVICE CONNECTION
Secondary service connection can be established when a veteran’s condition is the result of another service-connected condition.
For example, a veteran might develop peripheral neuropathy as a result of their service-connected Type II diabetes. Then, peripheral neuropathy would warrant secondary service connection.
1151 SERVICE CONNECTION
If you received treatment for a medical condition in a VA hospital, and your treatment led you to develop a disabling medical condition, you may be entitled to service connection by filing an “1151 claim”.
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