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The Importance of a Strong Medical Nexus Letter | VA Benefits

Legally reviewed by Brendan Garcia , Owner and Lead Attorney

Securing the VA disability benefits you deserve is not always easy. Even if you are confident that your health condition is the result of your service in the military, you may not be approved for benefits unless there is compelling evidence to support the link between the two. A medical nexus letter is one of the best means of showing this connection.

What is a medical nexus letter?

A nexus letter explains the extent to which a veteran’s medical condition is connected to their military service. It is written by a qualified health care provider and is reviewed in conjunction with other medical documentation to determine the benefits for which you are eligible.

What are the elements of a good letter?

A strong Nexus letter is compelling, well-researched, and credible. Letters should be written on the doctor’s letterhead and signed by the doctor to boost credibility. To increase your chances of a successful claim, letters should include the following:

  • A statement confirming the author has carefully reviewed the veteran’s medical history – such as the patient’s VA medical records, military service treatment records, and DD214 forms.
  • Supporting evidence, such as private medical records and a statement from the veteran or a “buddy letter” from someone else providing additional information about the veteran’s disability.
  • References to relevant medical research such as scientific studies and medical journal articles that support the author’s key points
  • A strong conclusion that definitively states, at least, that the disability is “at least as likely as not” due to the veteran’s military service

In addition to the above elements, your letter should be concise. Some people think a longer letter will increase the chances their claim will be approved. This is not the case. VA raters review hundreds of letters per month, so a succinct, straightforward letter can help them make their decision quickly and with confidence.

How can you obtain a good nexus letter?

To obtain a medical nexus letter, you need to request one from a qualified physician. Ideally, the physician you choose is a specialist in the field that encompasses your health condition. For instance, it would be best to request a letter from a psychiatrist or licensed psychologist if you are seeking benefits for depression or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Depending on your medical condition, you may need to schedule a face to face appointment with the physician.

While asking for a medical nexus letter may sound like a simple task, it is not always easy to secure a good one. Most physicians are busy handling a heavy patient load and may have little spare time to write a letter. Other physicians are not accustomed to writing nexus letters or might be reluctant to prepare a letter for you.

To avoid delays or a poorly written letter, you can ask a VA disability attorney for help. An experienced VA lawyer will have contacts to help you secure a good letter that is written by a specialist who treats the medical condition you have. These contacts can play a key role in helping you receive a favorable outcome with your claim.

Why is a convincing nexus letter so important?

The importance of a good nexus letter cannot be overemphasized. The content of your nexus letter can determine whether you receive VA disability benefits. It is extremely difficult to convince a claims reviewer that your health condition is linked to your service without a nexus letter.

What can happen if you fail to provide a good letter?

“Most denied veterans’ claims failed because of the lack of a nexus letter altogether or the lack of a properly written Nexus letter.” – State of North Dakota Veterans Affairs

Failure to provide a compelling nexus letter can lead to a rejection of your claim. You may quickly find yourself facing a mounting stack of medical bills without any service-connected benefits to help you pay for them. While you can file an appeal, this process can take months or even years, and there is no guarantee that you will receive the benefits you deserve.

What is the key to obtaining a great letter?

Not all nexus letters are created equal. Some are well-written, comprehensive, and convincing. Others are disorganized, incomplete, and weak. The single best way to ensure that your letter is clear and compelling is to contact a veterans disability lawyer right away. An experienced lawyer can help you obtain a convincing nexus letter from a qualified physician swiftly.

Whether you are struggling with your veterans benefits or you simply want to make sure you maximize them, a skilled lawyer can help you. We encourage you to reach out to us today to speak with one of our veterans disability lawyers. We look forward to helping you secure the benefits you deserve.