Service Connection By Legal Presumptions
As we’ve mentioned before, there are 3 keys to a successful claim with the VA. These are:
Proving your current disability.
Proving your in-service injury or illness.
Making the connection between the two.
Unfortunately, proving that connection can be a challenge. It can be extremely difficult to prove any kind of causality with certain conditions—much less making the connection to something that happened while you were in the service.
Fortunately, Congress has written into law certain legal presumptions—that is, under certain specific circumstances, your disability would be presumed to be service connected. In broad terms, that means if you have a particular disability and you served under certain circumstances, then you don’t have to prove any connection between the two.
Good and Bad News
The GOOD news is that the list of potentially presumed disabilities is extensive. The BAD news is that certain presumptions apply only to a few limited circumstances of service. In general and with just a few exceptions, the presumptions only apply if you served during a time of war. And, certain disabilities apply to certain circumstances of your service. For example, certain disabilities are presumed to be service connected if you have been a POW. A different list of disabilities is presumed to be service connected for veterans who had been exposed to radiation. On top of that, for many of the included disabilities, symptoms needed to start showing to a specified degree within in a certain time after separation from the military.
To further complicate matters—even with the legal presumptions in place—the VA can deny a claim. They have the option to rebut a presumption. The GOOD news is that the presumption means that the burden of proof has shifted. The VA would need to provide affirmative evidence that your condition was caused by something else—something not service connected.
As you can see, it can be a complicated matter to match up a disability to a condition of service to determine whether your case falls under a legal presumption. Or, to fend off a rebuttal from the VA. It’s in your interest to seek qualified legal assistance. Many lawyers are not certified to appear at all levels of the administrative appeal process of a Veterans’ claim for disability. Contact us at The Law Offices Of Maurice L. Abarr for a free consultation about your Veterans Disability case.