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A veteran thinking about VA disability appeal

I have problems related to my already service-connected disability, can I get a disability rating for them?


Yes you can!  In fact, these type of service-related disabilities have a name: secondary service-connected disabilities.  The regulation, 38 C.F.R.§ 3.310(a), provides:

[D]isability which is proximately due to or the result of a service-connected disease or injury shall be service connected. When service connection is thus established for a secondary condition, the secondary condition shall be considered a part of the original condition.

For secondary service-connected disability claims, as with all service-connected disability claims, medical nexus evidence is the key to success.   That is, a VA examiner or a private physician must find, within reasonable medical probability, that the service-connected disability is a cause of the secondary condition.   

A clear example is a case where you take pain medication for your service-connected back disability, and this medication causes an ulcer or gastrointestinal disability.  Assuming a physician’s opinion supports this theory of causation, the ulcer or gastrointestinal disability would be considered a secondary service-connected disability. 

Let’s look at a less obvious example of secondary service-connection.  You have a service-connected knee disability, which causes instability during walking.   One day you walk up a flight of stairs on your back porch. Due to the knee instability, you fall and fractures some vertebras in your spine.  Since the service-connected knee instability is a cause of the fall and subsequent back injury, the back injury would be considered service-connected.  



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If you are a veteran, or a family member of a veteran, whose work has been affected by their disability and who would like to appeal a VA benefits decision, we would like to speak with you.

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"I was happy Veterans Law Group was able to work through the VA bureaucracy to obtain my new rating."

  • Royal W.|Yankee Hill, CA


"Although it took a while for the result to come out, VLG was able to accomplish my expectations for a 100% rating. Due to complex medical issues, I appreciate the care you took so I did not have to appear personally in the VA local office or VA court. I am quite satisfied. I feel I am not shortchanged anymore."

  • Valued Client|Perris, CA


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"I was happy Veterans Law Group was able to work through the VA bureaucracy to obtain my new rating."

  • Royal W.

    Yankee Hill, CA