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Service Connected Compensation

Service Connected Compensation

Your ability to receive Veterans Disability Compensation along with many other benefits administered by the VA depends in large part on whether your disability(y)ies are “service-connected.”  Service connection generally means that a chronic disability arose coincidental with military service.  The wartime period in which you served may have specific disabling conditions that have been identified as being service-connected.  The four most common avenues to service connection are:

  1. Direct – the condition was caused by service.
  2. Secondary – the condition was caused by or aggravated by service connected disability.
  3. Aggravation – the condition was made worse as a result of military service.
  4. Presumptive – the condition is caused by or the result of an exposure to a substance like herbicide agents, nerve gas, or  radiation during military service.

Veterans who now suffer with an acquired psychiatric condition attributed to their military service (even if not documented or treated several years post service) and served in a war zone, witnessed something horrible, or were the victim of personal assault are entitled to service connection.  These are some of the most difficult cases to win and frequently the VA applies a higher threshold then required by law to these cases making it even tougher.  Too many of these veterans give up.  Gumpslegal Veterans Service can help.

Each disability found to be service connected is assigned an evaluation in increments of 10% starting at 0% up to 100%.  These disabilities are then combined (not added) with other service connected disabilities to arrive at a combined evaluation, which corresponds with the VA Compensation Rates table awarding monthly compensation.  Additional compensation is extended when a veteran has a combined rating or 30% or more for dependents.

There are several benefits administered by the VA to include medical, educational, and home loan guarantee certificates.  More of these benefits become available as your combined rating increases.  For example, the surviving spouse of a veteran rated at 100% to include individual unemployability for 10 years or more prior to his death would be entitled to dependency indemnity compensation.

To often, veterans will accept the VA’s assigned evaluations.  A skilled advocate can review these evaluations and consider in context of your situation to determine if it’s a fair evaluation provided under the current regulation.  Some disabilities, like tinnitus and hearing loss have a very objective criteria and therefore, are generally correct.  Other disabilities are more subjective in nature, like an acquired psychiatric disorder (for example PTSD, anxiety, or depression) residuals of traumatic brain injury, or complications related to diabetes and are frequently incorrect.  Gumpslegal Veterans Service can help you determine whether the evaluations are correct and if not, assist you in pursuing the proper evaluation through the appeals process.