Presumptive “Chronic” Conditions are a Powerful Tool to Establish Service-Connection for Certain Conditions Lacking In-Service Documentation
Generally, in order to establish service-connection for VA disability compensation, three things must be proven:
- A current diagnosis
- In-service documentation demonstrating the onset of the condition (typically symptoms or a diagnosis), and
- a “medical nexus” connecting them (causation)
Typically if service-connection is denied it’s because a medical nexus doesn’t exist. Proving a medical nexus requires a doctor’s expert opinion linking previous symptoms with the current diagnosis and must include supporting rationale. This is the most difficult thing to prove when seeking disability compensation, and acquiring a medical opinion can be difficult. Many doctors are unwilling to provide medical opinions. Veterans are uncomfortable seeking medical opinions. And often times, medical opinions lack supporting medical rationale.
Congress recognized that veterans were being denied benefits for conditions that were likely caused by their military service due to a lack of in-service evidence demonstrating the condition began while on active duty. In response, Congress enacted powerful legislation creating “presumptive conditions.”
If a veteran has one of the presumptive conditions listed in 38 CFR §3.307- 3.309 and that condition manifested itself to a compensable degree within 1 year after separation from active duty service (except for Hansen’s disease (leprosy) and tuberculosis, within 3 years; multiple sclerosis, within 7 years after separation from active duty service), then the condition will be “presumed” to have started while on active duty and the VA concedes the medical nexus required. So a presumptive condition does not need to be in a veteran’s military service treatment records. All that needs to be proven is that the condition “manifested” itself within the prescribed timeframes set forth in the regulations. Some of the more common chronic conditions veterans are diagnosed with include arthritis, diabetes mellitus, nerve impairments such as bell’s palsy and carpal tunnel syndrome, primary anemia, kidney stones, valvular heart disease, hypertension, stomach ulcers and seizures (epilepsy).
If the following conditions manifested themselves within 1 year of active duty service (for Hansen’s disease (leprosy) and tuberculosis, within 3 years; multiple sclerosis, within 7 years) you may be entitled compensation:
- Anemia, primary.
- Atrophy, progressive muscular.
- Brain hemorrhage.
- Brain thrombosis.
- Calculi of the kidney, bladder, or gallbladder.
- Cardiovascular-renal disease, including hypertension.
- Cirrhosis of the liver.
- Diabetes mellitus.
- Encephalitis lethargica residuals.
- Endocarditis. (This term covers all forms of valvular heart disease.)
- Hansen’s disease.
- Hodgkin’s disease.
- Lupus erythematosus, systemic.
- Myasthenia gravis.
- Other organic diseases of the nervous system.
- Osteitis deformans (Paget’s disease).
- Palsy, bulbar.
- Paralysis agitans.
- Purpura idiopathic, hemorrhagic.
- Raynaud’s disease.
- Sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral.
- Sclerosis, multiple.
- Thromboangiitis obliterans (Buerger’s disease).
- Tuberculosis, active.
- Tumors, malignant, or of the brain or spinal cord or peripheral nerves.
- Ulcers, peptic (gastric or duodenal)
Did the VA deny you benefits for a presumptive condition? If so, let VA Disability Group help so you can receive the benefits you deserve. Contact VA Disability Group online or call 1-844-VETLAWS (1-844-838-5297) for a free case evaluation.