Unique disability claims, such as a damaged knee, are usually fairly straightforward. A Compensation and Pension (C&P) doctor performs some range-of-motion tests and others, rates them, and that’s the veteran’s disability test. An independent exam may increase your VA disability rating, but again, it may not.
Multiple disability claims are much more complex. That is especially true if one disability causes another. For example, a veteran’s injured knee can lead to a limp, which in turn leads to hip problems or a gait disorder.
As a result, many disability claims are difficult to navigate without an experienced VA disability attorney. An attorney can guide you through the complex process. Plus, an attorney can evaluate her claim, so you don’t have to accept the C & P’s conclusion at face value.
Submitting an application is the first step in the process. For many veterans, this is also the hardest step. Most people are self-reliant and do not want to depend on the government or anyone else for help. If help is available, it is generally a good idea to accept it.
However, a properly completed application and correct supporting evidence may not be enough to get you the benefits you deserve. So if the claims examiner denies your request, at least in part, don’t be discouraged.
You are definitely not alone. An initial denial does not mean that your claim is weak. It just means that you need to take a closer look at your application.
Part of that request includes a service-connected disability. Most people make a direct connection between their military service and their disabilities. Sometimes the C&P doctor makes this connection. However, more often than not, attorneys obtain independent medical opinions in this area.
Alternatively, the applicant could establish continuity of symptomatology. Symptoms have been present from the service period to the date of diagnosis. Veterans using this approach do not need a medical expert. However, the claims examiner and even the BVA may not recognize this method, so the case may need to go to the CAVC.
An aggravation of the service connection might also suffice. The veteran argues that the military service unreasonably aggravated another disability. In other situations, mainly exposure to Agent Orange, there is a presumed connection to the service.
This final component is often the most complex part of the application process. The VA gives disability ratings ranging from 10% to 100%, generally depending on the veteran’s symptoms.
Things get really complex if the veteran has multiple disabilities. In these cases, the agency uses VA math to determine general disability.
Suppose a veteran has a 40% disability and a 60% disability. The VA does not add the two values nor does it even use their average. Instead, the agency uses the Combined Grade Table to achieve a 76% disability. Then that figure is rounded to 80%.
Contact an assertive attorney
VA benefits applications have basically three components, and none of them are simple. For a free consultation with an experienced VA disability attorney contact the Gumps Legal. We represent veterans nationally.