SERVICE CONNECTION CLAIMS

  1. Direct Injury or Aggravation
  • State the formal diagnosis or persistent symptoms of your claimed condition. When was this condition initially diagnosed? (best estimate)
  • In as much detail as possible, explain what happened in service to cause or aggravate your current condition.
  • When did this event or injury occur? Where were you stationed?
  • What unit were you assigned to at the time?
  • Did anyone else witness this event or injury in service? Who?
  • Did you seek treatment immediately after this event or injury? If not, why? (It’s okay if you didn’t begin treating during service or until much later in life. Maybe you did not have health coverage, or you could not afford to take the time out of work. Perhaps your symptoms were not severe enough to see a doctor until later on in life, or you didn’t feel comfortable discussing your symptoms with anyone. It’s okay. We just need to track your symptoms over time to link them to what happened in service.)
  • After you were discharged from service, when did you begin treating for this condition? Where? List every medical facility you’ve treated at for this condition since you were discharged from service. (It’s okay if the records have since been lost or destroyed. Still list every single provider with whom you’ve treated for this condition since you were discharged. Your statement that you treated there is enough to establish consistency and continuity of your symptoms over time. )
  • Have you experienced symptoms related to this condition consistently since the in-service event or injury? How have your symptoms worsened over time?
  • Describe the symptoms related to this condition that you experience today. In as much detail as you can, describe how these symptoms interfere with your day to day life.

 

  1. Chronic Condition
  • State the formal diagnosis or persistent symptoms of your claimed condition. When was this condition initially diagnosed? (best estimate)
  • How long were you in service? (The longer you were in service, the more likely your chronic condition may be related to the physical demands of your military service.)
  • Describe the physical demands associated with your military occupational specialty (MOS) while you were in service. How may these physical demands have caused or aggravated your current condition?
  • When did you start to experience symptoms related to this condition? How long after you began experiencing symptoms did you seek treatment? Where? (It’s okay if you didn’t begin treating during service or until much later in life. Maybe you did not have health coverage, or you could not afford to take the time out of work. Perhaps your symptoms were not severe enough to see a doctor until later on in life, or you didn’t feel comfortable discussing your symptoms with anyone. It’s okay. We just need to track your symptoms over time to link them to what happened in service. )
  • Describe how your symptoms related to this condition have evolved or worsened over time.
  • Describe your symptoms related to this condition and explain how these symptoms interfere with your day to day life. Provide 1-2 real life examples of how your symptoms have impacted you at work and at home.

 

  1. Hearing Loss and Tinnitus (MOS)
  • What was your military occupational specialty (MOS) while you were in service? What kinds of loud noises did you encounter regularly in service as part of your training or MOS duties?
  • When did you first start to experience symptoms related to hearing loss and/or tinnitus (ringing in your ears)? How have these symptoms evolved or worsened over time?
  • Describe your symptoms of hearing loss and/or tinnitus (ringing in your ears) today. How do these symptoms interfere with your day to day life and your ability to communicate with others?

 

  1. Environmental Exposures (Agent Orange, Jet Fuel, Burn Pits, Asbestos)
  • State the formal diagnosis or persistent symptoms of your claimed condition. When was this condition initially diagnosed? (best estimate)
  • Describe your MOS duties (what you did regularly during service) and how these activities required you to be exposed you to toxic herbicides or other toxins.
  • Describe the toxic herbicides or other toxins you were exposed to in service. If you were on a naval ship, what was the name of the ship where you were exposed to asbestos or other toxins? (While a lay person may not be competent to identify toxic herbicides or other toxins, you are competent to testify to what you saw or experienced with your own eyes. Describe what the toxic herbicides or chemicals looked like and why you believe it was Agent Orange or asbestos.)
  • Describe the extent and frequency of your exposure to toxic herbicides or other toxins.
  • Why do you believe these toxic herbicides or other toxins caused or aggravated your claimed condition? (If your doctor told you your condition could have been caused by exposure to toxic herbicides or other toxins say that.)
  • If true, state that you have no known risk factors associated with this condition (ie. history of smoking, family history, etc.).
  • When did you start to experience symptoms related to this condition? How long after you began to experience symptoms did you seek treatment? Where? (It’s okay if you didn’t begin treating during service or until much later in life. Maybe you did not have health coverage, or you could not afford to take the time out of work. Perhaps your symptoms were not severe enough to see a doctor until later on in life, or you didn’t feel comfortable discussing your symptoms with anyone. It’s okay. We just need to track your symptoms over time to link them to what happened in service.)
  • Describe how your symptoms related to this condition have evolved or worsened over time.
  • Describe the symptoms you experience today and explain how these symptoms interfere with your day to day life. Provide 1-2 real life examples of how your symptoms have impacted you at work and at home.

 

  1. Camp Lejeune
  • State the formal diagnosis or persistent symptoms of your claimed condition. When was this condition initially diagnosed? (best estimate)
  • What dates were you stationed in Camp Lejeune or another military base nearby.
  • How often did you use the water to eat, cook, shower, bathe, etc. while you were stationed in Camp Lejeune? Discuss the context, extent, and frequency of your exposure to the water at Camp Lejeune. (*This is a fact often overlooked by the VA, so the more specific we can be, the better.)
  • State that you believe your current condition is related to your exposure to the toxic water in Camp Lejeune. Why do you believe this? (If your doctor told you your condition could have been caused by exposure to toxic herbicides or other toxins say that.)
  • If true, state that you have no known risk factors associated with this condition (ie. history of smoking, family history, etc.).
  • When did you start to experience symptoms related to this condition? How long after you began to experience symptoms did you seek treatment? Where? (It’s okay if you didn’t begin treating during service or until much later in life. Maybe you did not have health coverage, or you could not afford to take the time out of work. Perhaps your symptoms were not severe enough to see a doctor until later on in life, or you didn’t feel comfortable discussing your symptoms with anyone. It’s okay. We just need to track your symptoms over time to link them to what happened in service. )
  • Describe how your symptoms related to this condition have evolved or worsened over time.
  • Describe the symptoms you experience today and explain how these symptoms interfere with your day to day life. Provide 1-2 real life examples of how your symptoms have impacted you at work and at home.

 

  1. Gulf War Syndrome

Veterans who served in the Southwest Asia Theater of Operations and who have developed symptoms of a medically unexplained chronic multi-symptom illness characterized by overlapping symptoms may receive disability compensation for each symptom under Gulf War Syndrome. Some of the commonly recognized symptoms of Gulf War Syndrome include:

  • chronic fatigue;
  • persistent headaches;
  • fibromyalgia or unexplained musculoskeletal pain;
  • cognitive issues;
  • skin rashes; and/or
  • functional gastrointestinal disorders (diarrhea or abdominal pain).

Chronic multi-symptom illnesses of partially understood etiology, such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis, are not considered medically unexplained. Your symptoms cannot be attributed to any known clinical diagnosis.

  • What dates did you serve in the Southwest Asian Theater?
  • Which of the following medically unexplained symptoms do you experience today:
    • chronic fatigue
    • persistent headaches
    • fibromyalgia or unexplained musculoskeletal pain
    • cognitive issues
    • skin rashes, and/or
    • functional gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea or abdominal pain
  • When did you start to experience symptoms related to this condition? How long after you began to experience symptoms did you seek treatment? Where? (It’s okay if you didn’t begin treating during service or until much later in life. Maybe you did not have health coverage, or you could not afford to take the time out of work. Perhaps your symptoms were not severe enough to see a doctor until later on in life, or you didn’t feel comfortable discussing your symptoms with anyone. It’s okay. We just need to track your symptoms over time to link them to what happened in service. )
  • Describe how your symptoms related to this condition have evolved or worsened over time.
  • Describe the symptoms you experience today and explain how these symptoms interfere with your day to day life. Provide 1-2 real life examples of how your symptoms have impacted you at work and at home.

 

  1. Combat
  • State the formal diagnosis or persistent symptoms of your claimed condition. When was this condition initially diagnosed? (best estimate)
  • What dates were you in combat (fired at or upon)?
  • Explain what happened during combat that caused or aggravated your condition.