The Veterans Affairs disability compensation system is designed to help veterans who are suffering from legitimate, service-connected injuries or conditions. A hard part of life for many veterans is getting their condition evidence in a format that the VA is likely to accept. If you've been dealing with denials and delays, consider a few traits of the VA system and how to identify the most relevant information to support your claim.

Time-Specific Medical Evidence

The key to a successful VA claim is the service-connected label. To be service-connected, your claim needs to prove that your condition is not only a significant problem in your life, but that it was caused by military service or made significantly worse by military service.

The severity of a condition is subjective, but can be reasonably understood in terms of whether it stops you from making a meaningful income or creates general hardship in your life. This may seem like the hard part, but for many veterans there are issues with getting time-specific medical evidence.

In many military situations, there may not be accurate record-keeping. Your injury could have occurred away from a major base with administrative personnel, or your condition may not have be noticeably bad until well after your military service ended.

The most relevant information you can include is some sort of official documentation that links your current problem to military activity. It could be a medical report with basic complaints about leg problems after falling at work or an incident report after being involved in a hostile situation. It could even be a news report that shows your involvement in a potentially damaging situation.

Although the last example can be very difficult to prove in the VA system, it at least gives some indication that you could have been injured during military service.

Presumptive Injuries Could Support Less Relevant Evidence

If you're suffering from joint pain, headaches, dizziness, depression or other issues that can be difficult to pinpoint to a specific issue, a medical report may not be enough. The VA will need to examine you for symptoms of the condition on your claim, which may not deliver the results you need.

Some conditions require long-term monitoring and detailed analysis, which the basic compensation and pension (C&P) exam doesn't provide. These issues fall under a category called presumptive conditions, which covers conditions that have no specific cause, but are understood to be caused during certain military campaigns. Presumptive conditions are explained further in a pamphlet from the VA that isn't at the front page of many VA information areas, but can be found in this PDF document.

A presumptive claim may be your best option if you lack relevant evidence, such as a leg pain complaint in the military that lacks x-rays or other proof to give an obvious cause for the problem. Although presumptive conditions aren't a guarantee, you can gain extra time to work on your claim with professionals outside of the VA and military system.

Contact an attorney experienced in injury claims (such as one from to begin a much deeper inspection of your condition. The attorney can explore the entirety of your career, interview different officials involved in different duty stations from your past and enlist the help of medical professionals with examination skills catered to building relevant, successful claim evidence.