Did you know the United States Department of Veterans Affairs has three different elements that must be met before Veterans can request a medical opinion or evaluation? In case you missed it, we broke down all three in a previous blog when the VA updated regulations.
We'll be taking a closer look at Element 1 in this blog to explain what competent evidence is in regards to your VA disability claim. Let's dive in:
Element 1: A current chronic disability 38 CFR 3.159(c)(4)(i)(A)
Simply put, the first required element needed to request a medical opinion from the VA is the presence of a current chronic disability. The VA describes this a bit more complex, referring to Element 1 as: "The presence of competent evidence of a current disability or persistent or recurring symptoms of disability." Basically, you have to prove that you have the condition that you're looking to receive benefits for. To do so, you need competent evidence.
So, what is competent evidence?
Competent evidence is needed to prove that you have the condition you're trying to claim VA disability benefits for. It must be credible, relevant, and reliable in order to qualify. This can include a wide variety of information gathered from multiple sources.
The following are some examples of medical evidence…
Physical therapy visits
Receipts for materials needed
How can a personal statement help with this?
Personal statements are self-written explanations that provide understanding of your condition, health history, how you manage symptoms, and ways the condition affects your life. Even though personal statements are lay evidence (presented in layman's terms), they can set your claim apart and humanize your story. We encourage Veterans to include these with their claim.
Need a Nexus Letter or DBQ?
We're a phone call away and ready to assist you. Schedule an appointment with one of our experts to get a chart review, or view our other services here. Getting competent evidence organized for your VA disability benefits claim doesn't have to be hard.