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Disability Claims for Presumptive Service-Connected Conditions

Legally reviewed by Brendan Garcia , Owner and Lead Attorney

The VA’s disability compensation benefits program can provide income to veterans who suffer from a disability, which resulted from a service-related injury. To receive payments, you must prove that you currently suffer from a disabling condition, that your condition is connected to your time on active duty, and that you received a discharge from the military under honorable conditions. However, certain circumstances would automatically qualify a former servicemember for benefits.

Presumptive service-connected conditions can expedite your pursuit of benefits, but it is your responsibility to demonstrate that your condition exists and attribute it to active-duty within a certain time frame after leaving the service. VetLaw’s team of seasoned attorneys can help you prove a presumptive service-related condition in order to facilitate your claim’s success.

Defining a Condition as Service-Connected

Applications for VA disability benefits require a veteran to demonstrate that they suffer from a service-related injury. This usually involves pointing to a specific incident which occurred during active-duty service that resulted in a disabling condition. For example, former servicemembers may have been exposed to toxic chemicals, loud noises, or environmental hazards during their time in uniform.

An inability to make this connection is a common reason for the VA to deny a claim for benefits. This can lead a veteran to file an appeal, but the appellate process can often take many months or even years to reach a resolution. Fortunately, a veteran who qualifies with a presumptive service-connected condition can quickly satisfy this essential requirement.

Examples and Effects of Presumptive Service-Connected Conditions

The VA assumes a connection to service for some of the conditions that afflict former members. Although time-frames vary, the majority of these diagnoses must be rendered within one year from the date of active duty release in order to qualify for benefits.

An example of some of the diseases presumed related to active duty if diagnosed within one year of active duty service include:

  • Certain mental health conditions known as psychoses
  • Arthritis
  • Certain heart diseases including arteriosclerosis and hypertension
  • Diabetes melitus
  • Tinnitus
  • Many other chronic illnesses

Other conditions may be presumptive depending on your location of service. For example, service in Vietnam and exposure to Agent Orange may qualify you for additional presumptive conditions.

If you can establish that you suffered from one or more of these conditions within one year of discharge from the military, and as long as the condition is at least 10 percent disabling, VA will assume that your disability is service-related. A VA-accredited attorney can help you gather evidence to prove your condition and form the necessary timeline to allow the VA to presume entitlement to service connection.

Call an Attorney to Learn More About Presumptive Service-Connected Conditions

Many former servicemembers find that the application process for obtaining VA disability compensation benefits is complex and confusing. Often even more frustrating is the requirement to connect your current disabling condition to your time spent on active duty.

You may have a presumptive service-connected condition if you now suffer from a disability which arose within one year of your leaving the military and that condition is at least 10 percent disabling. VetLaw’s team of dedicated lawyers can provide more information about presumptive service-related conditions and how they may lead to a successful VA disability compensation claim. Call us today to learn more about your options if you suffer from a condition that may be presumptively related to your active duty service.