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Compensation

5103 Notice Acknowledgement

What should the evidence show to support my disability claim?

This depends on the type of disability claim you’re filing.

Original Claim—the first claim you file for disability benefits

You’ll need to submit evidence of:

  • A current physical or mental disability from a medical professional or layperson (someone who’s not a trained professional) , and
  • An event, injury, or disease that happened during your active-duty service, and
  • A link between your current disability and the event, injury, or disease that happened during your service. Usually we need medical records or medical opinions from health care providers to support this link.

Under certain situations, we may conclude that there’s a link between your military service and your disability even if there’s no evidence. This usually applies to:

  • A chronic (long-lasting) illness that appears within 1 year after discharge, or
  • An illness caused by contact with contaminants (toxic chemicals) or other hazardous materials, or
  • An illness caused by your time spent as a POW

Increased Claim—a claim for more compensation for a disability that we’ve already determined to be service connected and that’s gotten worse

You’ll need to submit current evidence from a medical professional or layperson (someone who’s not a trained professional) that shows your disability has gotten worse.

New Claim—a claim for added benefits or other benefit requests related to an existing service-connected disability

You’ll need to submit evidence of:

  • A current physical or mental disability from a medical professional or layperson (someone who’s not a trained professional), and
  • An event, injury, or disease that happened during your active-duty service, and
  • A link between your current disability and the event, injury, or disease that happened during your service. Usually, we need medical records or medical opinions from health care providers to support this link.

Secondary Service-Connected Claim—a claim for a new disability that’s linked to a service-connected disability you already have

You’ll need to submit evidence of:

  • The new physical or mental disability from a medical professional or layperson (someone who’s not a trained professional), and
  • A link between the new disability and the disability we’ve already determined is service connected. Usually we need medical records or medical opinions from health care providers to support this link.

Supplemental Claim—a claim providing new evidence to support a disability claim that was denied.

You’ll need to submit new evidence we’ve haven’t reviewed before that’s related to the issue you’re claiming.