Ask a Service Officer: Get service-connected compensation

Q: Am I eligible to apply for service-connected disability compensation?

A: If you are suffering from a disability that was caused or worsened while you were on active duty for the military, you may be eligible for VA’s service-connected disability compensation. Remember, with each service connection, you must be able to prove your medical condition is related to your service, which can be done through a medical statement from a qualified provider. The following are five ways to establish if a disability is service-connected:

Direct Service Connection. First you must have a disease, injury, illness or occurrence in service which produces a chronic, debilitating condition. Second you must have the same or closely related condition presently. Third you must have a nexus (link) between the two either through interval medical treatment for the condition or a statement from a qualified medical person stating the following: diagnosis of a chronic condition; that the medical person has reviewed your entire medical history, to include service treatment records (STR); that it is "at least as likely as not" (50/50) that your current condition is related to military service; and reasons and bases for the medical opinion. Direct service connection may be established when the chronic, debilitating condition did not begin to produce symptoms while on active duty but did manifest to a compensable degree within a certain time period after exit from active duty. This criterion is IAW 38 CFR 3.303(d).

Presumptive Service Connection. The Veteran must have served in certain places in the world, at certain times and/or during certain operations in order to qualify for presumptive service connection. Some common examples of presumptive service connection involve exposure to agent orange defoliant, exposure to ionizing radiation, being held as a prisoner of war and other criteria as outlined in 38 CFR 3.309.

Secondary Service Connection. This type of service connection results when a service connected condition is shown to be the cause of another disability. For example if a Veteran is service connected for a right knee disability and the left knee begins to have issues due to uneven weight bearing, improper gait and other factors caused by the right knee then the left knee by be service connected as secondary. A competent medical statement is usually needed in order to provide medical basis for secondary service connection.

Aggravation. This type of service connection may be considered in two different ways. First if a Veteran entered active duty with a pre-existing condition but that condition becomes worse there may be basis for service connection due to aggravation. Again a medical statement from a qualified provider which states that there is a chronic condition, review of medical history, that the condition was aggravated "beyond normal limits" by military duty, and reasons and basis will be needed to substantiate the request for service connection. The other means of establishing service connected aggravation is when a presently existing condition is aggravated by a service connected condition. This must again be presented with corroborating evidence from a medical person.

U.S.C. 1151 Claim. This type of service connection results when will full negligence and/or misconduct occurs in a VA healthcare facility which results in a chronic debilitating condition. The 1151 claim is facilitated by an accredited service officer, investigated by a VA identified senior medical provider, and compensated using the service connected rating codes in 38 CFR Part 4.


  1. I would like to know if I can speak with someone regarding I qualify for service-or non-service disconnected benefits.
  2. My claim for noise induced hearing loss was declined due to lack of proof that my hearing loss was caused by my military experiences. I have heard that there have been medical papers published recently that say exposure to gunfire can cause permanent damage to cells in the inner ear that can result in hearing loss at a later time. Can you or anyone there tell here to find such publications or tell me the names of them? I am desperate for this information and would be forever gratefull if someone there can help me. Thank you. Gordon Pelton.
  3. My husband is a 21 year Navy Veteran as a deep sea diver. He started showing signs of Dementia 4-6 years ago but was first diagnosed with depression until I pushed harder and the VA determined he did have frontal lobe dementia. I was not happy with the VA so I took him to a civilian doctor. Who put him on better medicine but the dementia got worse over the last two years. A week ago he had to be taken to the hospital as I feared for my safety and his. He has never accepted the fact that he had this horrible disease. He is not service connected but suffered the bends and dove for 20+ Years. Does anyone know if there is research that shows deep sea diving can cause dementia or know of other deep sea divers that are service connected?
  4. I served in the navy for 7 years active duty, I received a medical discharge. At the time of my separation, I was told that I would not receive a discharge physical but that I would receive my physical by the VA after I got out. When I returned home to Missouri, I received a letter the report to the VA hospital in Kansas City, MO. I live in St Louis, MO, so I drove 4 hours to KC the morning of my physical. When I arrived, I checked in and waited for the Doctor to examine me. When the Doctor entered the room, he opened my file, asked me my name, social security number, wrote down some things in my file, and then said, HAVE A NICE DAY and walked out. I thought that was strange but that was the extent of my discharge physical. I felt that I was not going to receive anymore than that and I just let it go. Now 28 years later I am thinking that I should have pushed more to receive my discharge physical and possibly an increase in my disability rating. Can anyone chime in on this, should I seek more from the VA?
  5. Yes you need to go see your nearest VA Rep.They can help you as they have helped me with my service related injuries many years later.Don't give up my friend.
  6. Ilostmy hearing in the Korea warI am trying to get some Disability benifitys with no luck I hope you can help me out. Ialso Have cancer,One good eye lost sight on left eye
  7. My applied for benefits from the VA in Feb 2012 when they called him for a physical he passed in June 26, 2012 The VA called him in July 2012 for the physical and wanted to know did he still want a appointment and I had told them he had passed.
  8. Why the VA has not tried to take care of this matter for Marlene? Why would you ask if you still need and appointment if her husband has passed, this is no sensitive at all. You can't give him a physical now because he has passed, you do have medical records, stop dragging your feet or do you want her to pass also?
  9. In 1945,right after the battle of Okinawa,I received a TBI while repairing a steam turbine. One week later, I had the first of many dozens of Gran Mal Epileptic seizures, three while still in the Navy. After 69 years of trying to get some help,I finally received a 10% pension. During those many years of seizures, I was fired from three great jobs due to the ugliness of the seizures and lost all of the retirements that I would have received and lived very well with. By the time that my former Veteran Medical Doctor advised me to file a claim, all of the Veterans Service Officers were unable to find any of the medical records from the ships and Brooklyn Naval Hospital where I was seen. In 1979, I was observed by a Dr. of neaurology while having a seizure and he prescribed an anticonvulsive medication. Then, after 34 years, the nesurologist at my VA Medical Center took me off this med. due to the fact that I had been seizure free for that long. Then 4 years later I had many Gran Mals during a one week stay in the Hospital. The Doctors there then put me on a new anticonvulsive med. called Keppra and it has worked well since. However, one year later, I had to have my left leg amputated from Cancer, caused by the 34 years of the first anticonvulsive medication. Prior to my receiving the 10% pension, the Department of Veterans Affairs sent me many very nasty letters insisting that I was lying, due to the inability of the many Service Officers to find the records of the Doctors aboard two of the Four major warships that I served on in WW2 and the Brooklyn Naval Hospital, at wars end. I have a letter, written by a shipmate who was with me at the time of my TBI and when I had two of my seizures. The American Legion had an article in a copy, a few years ago stating that accidents and injuries witnessed by fellow servicemen/buddies was very receptive and as good as gold. The DOVA disavowed this as false, because these service/buddies weren't knowledgeable Doctors. End of comment.
  10. I injuried my back in 1955 lumbosacral spine and the va hospital refuse treatment and listed the injury as soft tissue injury. for 48 years the va has been rejecting my compensation for back injuey. the va keep rejectin their own medical finding of my injuries. while having a civilan job and hurt my back and had an operation on my back. I was in the va hospital in 1965for the injury I suffered in 1955. the va have all my records. all my military and medical records was lost in a fire. I sent them statement saying my records was lost in a fire but the va do not consider this.the va do not tell you why your clain was denied. I have been appealing their decision for 48 years. the va need to be investaged for rubber stamping veterans. claims
  11. This is sad.I wish you the best my friend.See your nearest VA Rep for help.Good luck
  12. i got injured in viet nam on march 7th,1971,we got ambushed n I was my lt.rto,we were fulley loaded n the lt. took an ak to his neck,inpact sent him to my arms n we fell into a bunker,with him on top of me,the prc 25 has a back brace n it tore into my back causing a lot of pain,we were medevac back to quan tri,n was given darvons for my pain,well to make it short,va only gives me 40% disability n my back is gatting worst hav gone for medical at va hospital in phoenix az,but they say there is nothing they can do, my personal dr. has even told them there is something wrong with my back,but they wont listen,hav a bulging disk n hair line fracture on my disk it affects me very much,take ib profane 1000 from my dr.what can I do?
  13. I'm 60 years old. I broke my right elbow serving in the Navy. Broke the elbow and while I waited to get to Guantanemo Naval Hospital I had my arm in a sling. If you ever worked in the forward engine room of a Guided Missle Destroyer you know what I'm talking about when I tell you I messed up the elbow even more because I still stood my watches and worked for 5 days until I got to the hospital there. When I got there the surgeon said that the only thing he could do to mitigate the situation was to cut off the radial head and stick it back into the socket like that. I could see about further treatment later. Don't think they were able to replace or repair the joint there at that time. Well I spent 27 days in the hospital in Cuba. I never got to see about any further treatment because I only had about 9 months left in the service. After I got back to my ship I was sent to a doctor in order to determine if I was fit for full duty because of the elbow injury. That is because the ship was scheduled to depart Norfolk on an extended mission in the Atlantic and into all parts of the Mediterranean Sea. At the time working in an engine room on a guided missle destroyer wasn't one of the most desireable jobs in the Navy. I was declared fit I suppose because I was on my way with the ship not having any further treatment for the elbow. The surgical wound was still not healed all the way because it kept busting open. It never quit doing that until around 1984. I was processed out in August of 1976 and told that if I needed further treatment for the elbow that I should file for my medical benefits when I got home. I did and was told my condition was not service connected. I had to make a living. I didn't have the luxury of messing around wasting time with the VA. For some reason I was not treated very fairly. I have since filed for benefits again because I need the help now as much as I needed it then.
  14. I'm a 66yr.old Combat Veteran with 50% disability rating.. I had cronic broncitus. I stayed away from the V.A. for over 20yrs. I have gotten worse with coughing & spitting up flem all the time. I know i have been subjected to some form of defoiliant while in Vietnam, but my primary care Dr. said it would be very hard to prove I takes a long time for some ailments to manifest themselves.I have a spit bottle in every room in my apartment. My doctor says here take this, well i'm tired of taking pills. I think these pills are slowly killing me!!!My doctor is a wonderful man but the V.A. is too busy to really take the time to help each veteran.. He told me he has 2500 hundred patients..I need someone to help me, lost in ALABAMA. 256-651-8696
  15. Hi Ronald. I'm sorry to hear about what you have going on. There is an online forum that may help you. Just google Hadit forums
  16. I am a disabled vet and only get 10% and I am wondering if I can get it increased to a higher percentage? Can you provide me with direction to accomplish this, as my back pain has increased over the years. I thank you in advance for any help you can provide
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