What are the basic requirements of eligibility for compensation benefits?
A basic requirement for a veteran to receive monthly monetary compensation benefits is that there is a connection between the veteran’s disability and the period of the veteran’s military service. For an award to the veteran of service-connected compensation, he must establish that his disease, injury, disability, or the aggravation of a preexisting condition was suffered or contracted in the line of duty. Also, the veteran must currently suffer from the disability.
Is there direct service connection for non-chronic diseases?
Veterans can get direct service connection for diseases that were first diagnosed in service and for diseases that were first diagnosed long after the end of their active service.
There is no requirement that the condition was diagnosed or even manifested during active military service.
Examples of conditions that may manifest long after active service has ended include:
- Hearing loss
- Cancer resulting from radiation exposure, toxic substances or excessive sunlight
- Degenerative diseases caused by traumatic injury
- Mental disorders like PTSD
- Any other condition which manifests during the life of the veteran provided there is competent medical evidence which establishes a connection between the disease and the veteran’s military service.
Can service connection be established for a veteran with a chronic disease that was first diagnosed in service?
Yes, the veteran can establish service connection by showing that a chronic disease was diagnosed in service OR during an applicable presumption period AND that the veteran has current manifestations of the same chronic disease
This is not an exhaustive list, but some examples of chronic conditions which may be service connected are as follows:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Brain hemorrhage
- Certain kidney, bladder or gallbladder conditions
- Hodgkin’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Malignant tumors of the brain, spinal cord or peripheral nerves
- Peptic ulcers
- Progressive muscular atrophy
- Brain hemorrhage
- Brain Thrombosis
- Active tuberculosis
It is unnecessary to have medical linking for service connection to be established for the above chronic conditions and numerous others. All the veteran must establish is that the chronic condition developed during service or within the applicable presumptive period and show that there is current disability from the disease.
Can there be service connection established when the veteran had health problems prior to military service, but those problems worsened due to military service?
Yes, service connected disability can be established due to an aggravation of a preexisting condition, provided the military service caused the disability to worsen faster than the condition’s normal progression.
What is required for direct or secondary service connection of a non-chronic condition?
To establish this claim, there must be some evidence of a nexus between the veteran’s current disability and veterans military service.