VA Service Connection: Continuity of Symptomatology
What is VA Service Connection?
To qualify for VA disability compensation the VA must determine that your condition was caused or aggravated by military service. A veteran can demonstrate service connection multiple ways including: direct, secondary, presumptive, and aggravation. In order to establish service connection on a direct bases a veteran must show: (1) A current diagnosed condition; (2) An in-service event, injury, or illness; and (3) A medical links between the in-service event and medical condition.
There are situations where a veteran does not have a specific in-service event but instead they develop the condition over time. In this circumstance, a veteran may be able to show continuity of symptomatology in order to establish service connection.
What is Continuity of Symptomatology?
Generally, veterans may qualify for service connection based on continuity of symptomatology if symptoms of a chronic condition have recurred regularly, without some intervening cause, since the time they left the military. The symptoms must be present since the time you were in service, or since a short period of time after leaving the service, despite any intermittent periods of improvement.
Continuity of symptomatology is important when veterans have medical evidence of a current condition, but do not have an in-service event. Veterans do not need an actual diagnosis of the condition during service, instead they only need to have the symptoms of the condition from the time they were in service.
How to Prove Continuity of Symptomatology?
To establish service connection based on continuity of symptomatology, you must show the following:
- Your disability is a chronic condition listed under 38 CFR 3.309(a)
- Symptoms of the current disability were “noted” while in the military or shortly after discharge
- These same symptoms have continued since separation from service
- A medical nexus between the post-service symptoms and current condition
Veterans can use lay evidence showing the onset and progression a condition to support the continuity of symptomatology. This can include statements from friends and family who have witnessed the presence of symptoms.
It is also crucial for veterans to submit medical evidence linking their symptoms to their current condition. This medical opinion can be obtained from either a VA medical professional or a private doctor.
Common Reasons Why VA Denied Claims Based on Continuity of Symptomatology
The common reasons the VA denies claims due to continuity of symptomatology include:
- Symptoms were not continuous because they were not mentioned during your separation examination
- Symptoms were not continuous because they were never mentioned during other medical appointments
- Symptoms were not continuous because you did not continuously seek formal medical treatment.
Bosley & Bratch have been supporting veterans in getting the benefits they deserve since 1995. Call Bosley & Bratch at (727) 274-9227 or complete our free veterans benefits case evaluation form.