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What is a service event, and how do you prove it for VA disability benefits?

There are three elements that Veterans need to meet before they can ask the United States Department of Veterans Affairs for a medical opinion or evaluation – and a service event is the second out of the list. Below, we detail what a service event actually means and also how you can prove it when filing your claim for VA disability benefits.

Keep reading as we break it down in simpler terms:

Element 2: Service event 38 CFR 3.159(c)(4)(i)(B)

A service event is basically what it sounds like: something that occurred during service. Veterans should be able to provide evidence of a service event that either caused or contributed to their current condition. The VA describes this as "Establishment of one of the following in service: 1) An event, 2) An injury, 3) A disease."

How can you prove a service event for VA disability benefits?

There are two ways you can prove a service event for VA disability benefits: medical documentation and administrative documentation. Here's the difference:

  • Medical documentation: This type of documentation comes from medical visits during service, such as going to a clinic or the hospital.

  • Administrative documentation: Unlike medical, administrative documentation occurs without a medical visit – it is documented in-service administratively. This can be recorded on an incident report, performance evaluation, pictures of you performing your job duty, orders, a conop, etc.

But what happens if you were injured in the field with a medic who didn't document? This is where personal statements come in – self-written explanations that provide understanding of your condition, health history, how you manage symptoms, and ways the condition affects your life.

You can also get a buddy letter, which is a statement made on your behalf by someone else who has firsthand knowledge of the service incident, which can qualify it as a service event. The most important thing is to get a buddy letter from someone who was there and witnessed the event, injury, or disease first-hand. They can also be a supervisor who can attest to the negative impact it had on your ability to function at work or any work accommodations/limitations.

Speak with an expert at MRPY Professional Services today

Preparing to file a VA disability benefits claim but don't know where to start? Medical evidence is the key to success. We can help you with a Nexus Letter or DBQ. Schedule an appointment for a chart review

Need a Nexus Letter or DBQ? We're your people. Speak with one of our experts today to get a chart review, or take a look at our full list of services here to see how we can support you. With the right documentation and process, you can get the help you deserve.

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