Nexus Letters and Your VA Disability Claim
If you’re filing a VA Disability claim, there are few things that you must have in order to get service connected for a disability. One of the most important aspects of qualifying for VA disability is that you must have served in the military. I often use humor in my blogs, but I’ve seriously had people ask me if they can qualify for VA disability if they never served. The answer is no. If you did serve, you will need a proper discharge, and of course, medical treatment. Anyone who has even glanced at this blog before will tell you that medical treatment is one of the most important parts of a VA disability claim. Today though, we are going to discuss one specific aspect of medical treatment; the nexus letter.
A few things come to mind when I hear the term “nexus letter.” First of all, it sounds a lot fancier than it actually is, and two, how I have I possibly waited this long to write about nexus letters? Though I may act like it often, I am not perfect, so it’s possible for me to forget to write about a topic for several years. But also, I don’t deal with nexus letters frequently because I mostly interact with Veterans when they are in the beginning stages of their claims. Nexus letters usually come in later in the process.
So, the first question one might be led to ask is “What is a nexus letter?” It is simply a written statement from a medical professional that states that your current medical condition is a result of your time in service. In other words, the medical professional is arguing that, based on their medical opinion, your current injury is impacting your life because of the time you spent in service.
Before I mentioned that I don’t often encounter Veterans with nexus letters because I interact with Veterans who are new to process or new to our firm. That does not mean that you can’t submit a nexus letter early on. In fact, some would argue that submitting a nexus letter early in the process is a positive. This is especially true for Veterans who have limited medical treatment to back up his or her claim. For example, we interact with Veterans who were Airborne Rangers quite often. All Vets are tough, but these individuals are the toughest of the tough. They will often avoid medical treatment because of their training. (Granted, that is true of most Veterans I meet.) So, they aren’t likely to have a long history of medical evidence. However, if an individual has issues with their knees, back and feet, it would be easy for a doctor to write a nexus letter for them if they had a lot of jumps in service. Personally, the only time I’ve ever jumped out of a plane is when it taxied at DFW and we had been delayed for five hours. Even then it was more like a leap onto the terminal. Many Veterans have described the impact jumps have on them in service, and it is surprising anyone would do it more than once. If you had 30 jumps in service, then discharged and started working at a desk job, it would be difficult for a doctor to argue that your joint issues didn’t come from service. This is of course assuming you did not have a car wreck after service or took up kickboxing as a hobby.
Nexus letters are also important if you are denied because of the result of a C&P exam. I always try to be upfront with my readers, and I also try not to bash the VA in my blogs. The latter is becoming increasingly difficult. However, while many C&P examiners are well qualified individuals who are dedicated to their field, we often see reports that don’t support a Veteran’s claim. Let’s just say that if C&P reports were compared to mobile phones, they wouldn’t be iPhones, or Android devices, they’d likely be Blackberry phones instead. A nexus letter can go a long way to negate what a C&P examiner states in their report. Think of it as second opinion in this case.
I don’t personally know any doctors. In fact, most of my knowledge of them is a result of watching Grey’s Anatomy or my time with the firm. This has led me to two conclusions: doctors will disobey the Hippocratic Oath to prove their love, and they are often hesitant to write that one thing is a direct result of another. Seriously though, you might have a difficult time finding a medical professional that will state that your medical condition is a result of your time in service. This is especially true if you have not treated with them for a while. If this is the case, you might see language like: “your injury is at least as likely as not” a result of your time in service. In circumstances like this, it’s important to consult with an attorney or service officer to determine your best course of action.
While a good nexus letter can help your case, it’s no guarantee of approval. That is why I stress medical treatment as a whole for your VA disability case. Going to the gym once isn’t going to make me look like Jake Gyllenhaal, and seeing a doctor once won’t likely make a strong argument for a VA disability.
If you liked what I had to say today, feel free to give me a call to discuss your case. Our toll free number is 1-877-526-3457. If you’re not free to talk now, fill out this form to schedule an appointment at a later time.