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These are the VA's rules around preexisting conditions

Questions around preexisting conditions are common when it comes to VA disability benefits. Many Veterans ask us how their preexisting conditions affect their ability to get benefits from the VA, and it's an important consideration when preparing documents for your claim. The short answer is: having a preexisting condition does change a few things, but it certainly doesn't prevent a Veteran from being awarded VA disability benefits.


Here's what you need to know about the VA's rules around preexisting conditions, and how they might affect your disability claims process:


Preexisting conditions and service connection

Earning service connection (benefits for injury or illness that occurred due to service) for a preexisting condition requires proof that the condition was made worse by a Veteran's military service. In this case, oftentimes compensation is awarded for the aggravation of a condition – not necessarily the condition itself.


The following are different types of evidence that can help prove service connection for the worsening of a preexisting condition:




Determining aggravation versus natural progression 

Before filing your VA disability benefits claim, it's important to be sure that you've differentiated between aggravation and natural progression of the condition. Natural progression is what happens over time with a condition without outside interference, sometimes worsening. Aggravation occurs from a specific outside influence, such as military service, causing a direct worsening of the condition.


In short: Medical evidence is necessary to prove aggravation and earn VA disability benefits. For example, flat foot is commonly awarded VA disability benefits, even though it is often a preexisting condition. Because military service often makes the symptoms worse, Veterans are able to claim service connection as long as they can prove military service worsened it beyond the natural progression. This requires evidence of medical treatment in service because the natural progression of flat feet is to worsen over time.


Get prepared for filing a VA disability claim with expert medical documentation


We're here to get you prepared for filing a claim that gets real results. Get in touch with our friendly team to schedule a chart review, or check out our other services here. Preexisting conditions can add a bit of confusion when preparing for your VA disability benefits claim, but we're here to help simplify things – saving you time and money, while getting the best outcome. Proving that your preexisting condition was aggravated due to military service is doable with the right evidence.



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