When a veteran files a claim for VA benefits, he must show three things:
1. a current disability, injury, or illness;
2. an event, injury, or illness that took place in service; and
3. evidence connection the current disability to the in-service injury or event.
Generally, the veteran satisfies the first element (current disability requirement for VA benefits) if he receives a diagnosis of the claimed disability any time after he files a claim. This element is satisfied even if the disability improves, or resolves altogether, before he receives a decision from VA.
Romanowsky v. Shinseki
In the recent case of Romanowsky v. Shinseki, the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims dealt with a case where a veteran received a diagnosis of a psychological disability and shortly thereafter filed a claim for VA benefits. However, when he went for his VA examination shortly after filing the claim, the VA doctor said there was nothing wrong with him. The VA turned down the claim because the veteran did not have a current disability. VA refused to even consider the medical evidence showing that the veteran had a psychological disability shortly before he filed his claim.
The Court corrected the VA’s erroneous determination, concluding that a veteran who demonstrates a disability shortly before filing his claim could meet the “current disability” requirement. Thus, to meet the “current disability” requirement, the veteran can show that he had a diagnosis either while his claim for VA benefits is open, or just before he filed the claim.
Help Proving the Current Disability Requirement for VA Benefits
Do you think your claim for VA disability compensation was incorrectly denied because the VA wrongly concluded you didn’t have a “current disability”? Veterans Help Group offers a free case evaluation to review your claim and advise you on your rights. Our veterans disability advocates stay on top of the law and will help you recover the benefits to which you are rightly entitled.