“Presumptive” Disability Benefits Available For Certain Veterans

What is the Medical Nexus Requirement?

As I wrote in a blog post in 2009, in order to receive service-connected compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), a veteran must meet three criteria: the veteran must be suffering from a current disability diagnosed by a medical professional; there must be evidence in the military service records of a disease, injury, or event in service; and the veteran must show a nexus, or link, between the current disability and the in-service disease, injury or event.

What is “Presumptive” Service Connection?

In some cases, the veteran is not required to demonstrate the nexus or link between the current disability and the in-service disease, injury or event. Instead, the VA presumes that specific disabilities diagnosed in certain veterans were caused by their military service. The VA does this because of the unique circumstances of the military service of certain veterans. If one of the medical conditions listed below is diagnosed in a veteran in one of the groups shown on the table, the VA presumes that the circumstances of his/her service caused the medical condition or, in other words, the medical nexus is presumed, and disability compensation can be awarded.

What Conditions are “Presumed” to be Caused by Military Service?

Entitlement to disability compensation benefits is presumed for veterans in the groups identified below who suffer from the medical conditions shown.

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In addition to the above, veterans with continuous service of 90 days or more who are diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis ((ALS)/Lou Gehrig’s disease) at any time after discharge or release from active service are presumed to have established service connection for the disease.

I previously blogged about the VA’s “presumptive” illnesses here, here, and here.