When veterans put their lives on the line to serve their country, they may face physical and mental challenges that linger long after their service ends.
To provide support for these individuals, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers a system of disability claims. These claims aim to recognize and address the health issues veterans encounter as a result of their service.
1. Direct service connection claims
Veterans file direct service connection claims when they can link their current health condition to something that happened during their military service. They need to show medical proof of this connection.
2. Presumptive service connection claims
Some health problems might develop later due to military service, even if the exact cause is not clear. Presumptive service connection claims can get filed for conditions recognized as likely to happen because of their service.
3. Secondary service connection claims
Sometimes, a new health issue develops as a result of a condition that is already connected to their service. In these cases, veterans can file a secondary service connection claim.
4. Aggravation claims
Veterans with conditions that worsened because of their service can file aggravation claims. They need to show that their condition got worse due to their service, beyond how it would naturally progress.
5. Total disability based on individual unemployability claims
Veterans who cannot work well due to their service-connected disabilities can file for total disability benefits. These claims focus on how the disabilities affect their inability to work.
In 2022, the VA completed more than 1.7 million disability compensation and pension claims. To make a successful claim, veterans should gather strong medical proof that shows the connection between their condition and their time in the military.