One of the many benefits of the PACT Act that was signed into law last year was an expansion of the list of presumptive benefits that can entitle a veteran to disability benefits. Nearly two dozen presumptive conditions, including conditions tied to toxic burn pit exposure, mean that more veterans facing certain serious conditions can more easily access benefits.
So it may come as a surprise to them, and to you, that having a recognized presumptive condition does not automatically result in benefits. It is quite possible for a veteran to have one or more presumptive conditions and still be denied VA disability benefits. This result is due to the fact that having a qualifying disability condition is only one part of a successful VA disability claim.
The Benefits of Having a Presumptive Condition
Whether recognized by the PACT Act or from some earlier legislation or regulation, presumptive conditions provide VA disability benefits applicants with an advantage in the VA process. One of the hurdles an applicant must overcome in the process is showing that they have a disabling condition that restricts or prevents them from working.
When the medical condition is recognized as a presumptive condition, the VA will automatically presume that the veteran is disabled. There may be a question as to the veteran’s disability rating, but, when properly documented, the VA will not question whether the condition is disabling. Thus, an Ohio veteran applying for disability benefits with a presumptive condition will already have cleared this hurdle.
Where Claims Based on Presumptive Conditions Fail
This is not the only hurdle a VA disability claim must clear, though. In addition to showing they suffer from a presumptively disabling condition or another condition that results in disability, veterans must show that they sustained or developed that condition as a result of their military service.
For example, bladder cancer is one of the recognized presumptive conditions that veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange can seek disability benefits. Just because a veteran shows they have bladder cancer, though, does not alleviate them of the burden to show they were exposed to Agent Orange during a period of military service and that this led to their bladder cancer.
Appealing a Denied Claim Based on a Presumptive Condition
The silver lining for Ohio veterans and others throughout the United States is that these claims can usually be easily appealed and corrected through the filing of a Supplemental Claim. Providing the VA with additional information about your military service and connecting your service to your conditions an often lead to an approval without the need to go before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.
Help for Ohio Veterans Needing VA Disability Benefits
If your claim for VA disability benefits has been denied in Ohio, let the experienced team at Veterans Law Attorneys take a look at your case. We will review the reasons why the VA denied your claim and work with you to develop an appellate strategy to get you the benefits you need and deserve quickly.