An Increase In Severity of a Non-Military, Service-Connected Disability

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If your prior non-military service-connected disability was aggravated during service, learn how to document the increase in severity and where to get help in proving your claim.

Dear Disability Advisor,

USMC 1977, three weeks into training I broke my wrist doing jump down push-ups and was sent home (from) my position because of scare tactics of operation and recovery time by USMC. I filed for velocities. They said it was an old break, had arthritis in it. (They) said it was an oversight at recruitment physical (not true.) They denied my claim. I filed again years later, (and) they said I should file for “made worse by training.” The VA is no help. I don’t trust any of this, where do I go for help?


Dear Jim,

A viable compensation claim can be made as a result of a service-connected condition or due to an increase in severity of a non-service-connected disability. The increase in severity has to be attributable to aggravation by a service-connected medical event. That aggravation must not be caused by the natural progression of the non-service connected medical problem.

First, you must establish a baseline of the non-service connected disability from before you entered the service. If this is not possible, then you must find the earliest medical records that show the onset of the current aggravation and the then-current level of severity of the non-service related disability. If you cannot do so, then it is doubtful that you will ever be granted VA benefits.

Accordingly, you need to seek the advice of a VA accredited attorney or the services of a non-profit veterans’ organization such as Disabled American Veterans or the American Legion. These providers of VA services can decode your claim and situation to determine if you have a viable VA compensation claim.


Craig Ames

An Increase In Severity of a Non-Military, Service-Connected Disability
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