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What is a direct service-connected disability?

On Behalf of | Jun 17, 2024 | VA Disabilities

If you were injured during your military service and have a disability as a result, you may be eligible for benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). However, not all disabilities that a veteran may have will necessarily qualify. Knowing what counts as a direct service-connected disability is important for getting the help you need.

Eligibility criteria

To receive benefits for a direct service-connected disability, you need to meet a few requirements: 

  • A current medical diagnosis of your disability 
  • Proof that the disability started or got worse during your time in the military
  • Medical records and service documents that show a clear link between your military service and your disability

Common types of direct service-connected disabilities

There are many kinds of direct service-connected disabilities. Some common examples include injuries from combat, like shrapnel wounds. Mental health issues, like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are also common. Other examples include hearing loss from loud noises and breathing problems from exposure to harmful substances.

The claims process

To file a claim for a direct service-connected disability, you need to send a claim to the VA with all your medical and service records. The VA will review these records to decide if you are eligible and how severe your disability is.

Importance of documentation

Having accurate and thorough documentation is very important. Medical records, service treatment records, and statements from fellow service members can be crucial evidence. Keeping detailed records can improve your chances of a successful claim.

Nearly 30% of veterans have a disability. Many of them face significant challenges and need the support and benefits they deserve. This is why it is extremely important to understand how to document and report direct service-connected disabilities.