Ensuring Veterans Receive Proper Compensation: The Importance of Specialized Medical Nexus Letters

February 26, 2024
Elite Medical Review Associates

For a veteran to be eligible to collect VA disability benefits for a service-connected condition, the veteran must prove that their current diagnosis is as a result of an event, injury, or illness that occurred or was worsened during their active duty. Alternatively, a current diagnosis can also be proven to be linked to a different service-connected condition that the VA has already assigned the veteran a rating for. 

Essentially, you can collect VA disability benefits for a primary condition, or a secondary condition that was a result of one of the primary conditions. In either case, the most important piece of evidence in support of your claim is going to be what you provide to connect your current diagnosis to your active service. This connection is often provided in the form of what is known as a “nexus letter”. In this article we’ll explore what a nexus letter is, and the importance of specialized medical nexus letters in supporting the best possible outcome in your VA disability benefits application, appeal, or supplemental claim. 

What is a Nexus Letter? 

A nexus letter is, at its most basic, the opinion of a medical professional who has taken the time to review your military history and your current condition that links your current diagnosis to your active military service, or a condition that developed during your service. Whether your current diagnosis is a primary condition from your active service, or secondary to a primary condition, you are eligible to receive extensive VA disability benefits. These can be extensive, and include full coverage for any healthcare needs that you might have, in addition to tax-free monthly payments depending upon the disability rating you are assigned. 

Compensation Depends on Your VA Disability Percentage Rating

As covered on the VA website, the 2024 veterans’ disability compensation rates, which are the amount in tax-free monthly disability payments a qualifying veteran is eligible for, are as follows:

  • 0 percent – $0, this means that you have a VA-recognized diagnosis for a condition, so you are eligible to receive VA-covered healthcare, however, the condition does not impact your ability to work and so you are ineligible for monthly payments to replace lost earnings 
  • 10 percent – $171.23
  • 20 percent – $338.49
  • 30 percent – $524.31
  • 40 percent – $755.28
  • 50 percent – $1,075.16
  • 60 percent – $1,361.88
  • 70 percent – $1,716.28
  • 80 percent – $1,995.01
  • 90 percent – $2,241.91
  • 100 percent – $3,737.85

Note that the amounts covered above are for veterans alone, with no dependents. When a veteran has a spouse, children, and/or dependent parents, the amount that they are eligible for increases significantly. For example, a veteran with a spouse and 2 dependent parents is eligible for $4,280.77. For each child under the age of 18 the veteran adds $103.55 per month, or for each additional child over the age of 18 in a qualifying educational program an additional $334.49 is available. 

Given the substantial amounts associated with receiving an accurate VA disability rating, your veterans nexus letter is especially important. 

Who Can Provide Veterans with Effective Nexus Letters? 

A doctor who is not only capable of assessing your current condition, but also reviewing your military and medical history then drafting it into the nexus letter format is essential. Not all healthcare professionals are familiar with the process, or with the information that the VA is looking for. This is why working with an experienced veterans’ disability benefits lawyer is of value, as they will have a network of medical professionals capable of providing you with a specialized medical nexus letter. 

The VA Provides Free Help with Preparing Your Claim, But Independent Expert Opinions Help

The VA provides veterans with a variety of resources to prepare your initial application. Veterans’ disability benefits lawyers cannot help during this phase, however, a law firm can often recommend some medical professionals capable of providing the services that you require. 

Be Careful when Using Only the VA for Nexus Letters or Service Connection Statements

Veterans have a right to submit their own medical expert’s opinion in the form of a nexus letter with their VA disability claim. While the VA can provide you with a Compensation and Pension Exam (C&P Exam), those are often conducted by overworked doctors or even nurse practitioners. In some instances, the VA has been known to not even perform a physical exam, but instead to simply ask questions and enter data into a computer. The best way to support an accurate and complete VA disability rating is by submitting your own specialized medical nexus letter. 

A Veterans’ Disability Benefits Attorney Can Help with Appeals and Supplemental Claims

For your initial VA disability application, there are a number of free resources available to you, both through the VA in addition to veterans service organizations offering solutions for veterans. In fact, VA-accredited attorneys are not able to provide paid services during the initial application period, and so veterans are often on their own doing so or with a service officer from one of the service organizations. When you do not submit your own specialized medical nexus letter, it is possible that your rightful claim could be denied, or that you receive less compensation than you deserve. 

If your initial claim was denied, a veterans’ disability benefits attorney can help you appeal the VA’s decision. When you win an appeal, you are awarded all of the VA disability benefits that you would have been entitled to from the time of your application to the present date, and your future benefits are adjusted accordingly. Your VA disability lawyer’s payment comes out of the back payment, and 100% of the future benefits that you are awarded remain yours. 

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