Aggravation of Medical Conditions Should be Considered by VA

El-Amin v. Shinseki

In El-Amin v. Shinseki, Docket no. 10-3031, the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims vacated a VA decision in which VA relied on a medical opinion that did not consider whether the veteran’s service-connected PTSD aggravated his alcoholism, which ultimately contributed to his death. The medical opinion only considered whether the veteran’s PTSD caused his alcoholism. However, a veteran can obtain benefits for a condition that is not directly caused by a service-connected condition, but is made worse (aggravated) by the service connected conditions.

Veterans should check with their doctors to determine whether a non-service connected condition is being made worse by a service connected condition.

Proving Aggravation of Medical Conditions by a Service Connected Condition

Need help understanding or proving aggravation of medical conditions by a service connected condition? Contact our advocates for veterans or complete our free online VA disability case evaluation form.

More Information on Service-Connected Medical Conditions

  • Types of VA Disability Claims
    In addition to more commonly known physical injuries (including traumatic brain injuries) and mental disabilities (including PTSD), there are many types of veterans disability claims.
  • Veterans Disability Compensation Ratings
    Disability ratings are the VA’s way of measuring the potential that any given impairment has to decrease your ability to earn a living.
  • Total Disability Due to Individual Unemployment (TDIU)
    A veteran who can’t work due to service connected disabilities may be entitled to Total Disability due to Individual Unemployability (TDIU). This benefit is commonly referred to simply as unemployability.

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