There is more to filing a successful VA compensation claim than simply filing. While the VA will pull your service treatment and VA treatment records, that is rarely enough for you to get your condition service-connected. That is not to say that you should hold off filing, you should always file for compensation as soon as possible to ensure that you secure the earliest effective date for your VA benefits. When filing, you do not have to list your exact medical condition or provide detailed medical records rather you just have to give a generalized description of the medical condition that you are filing for, such as “lower back pain,” or “abdominal pain.” The exact diagnosis can be determined at a later date. You don’t want the VA denying your benefits because you filed for GERD and it was later determined that you actually have IBS.

Another important part of applying for VA compensation is obtaining a “nexus statement,” which is an opinion by a competent medical professional that connects your medical condition to your military service. This statement can be from a VA doctor, your private care provider, or a relevant medical expert and needs to explain not only that your condition is related to service, but explain in detail why. While the VA must consider your statements in determining if a condition is related to service, having a medical professional explain that you developed IBS as a result of exposure to contaminated drinking water while on active duty is much more likely to result in service-connection.