Unfortunately, far too many veterans’ disability cases are denied because they don’t include a nexus letter. It’s so common that we consider a nexus letter “the missing link” for veterans to get what they deserve after their service to our country.
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In this article about VA nexus letters:
Let’s start with a couple of definitions:
nexus: a connection or a link medical nexus letter: a statement from a medical professional that links a claimed condition to a veteran's time in service
A nexus letter can be viewed as the “why” behind a service connection claim, an increased rating claim, or the medical reason behind an individual’s unemployability benefits claim.
Your nexus letter should include scientific support for the connection between your medical condition and your service. The goal is for the VA to pay you benefits for your service-connected disabilities. It can be a direct service connection (a condition that began while in service) or a secondary service connection (a condition linked to a service-connected condition).
Both require a medical nexus letter to win a claim.
What to include in a VA disability benefits nexus letter
A veteran retires from service and 5 years later is diagnosed with hypertension. If a review of the veteran’s medical records turns up elevated blood pressure readings in the veteran’s service treatment records, a good nexus letter will include a chronological discussion of the readings to support hypertensive symptoms beginning in service. It illustrates continuity from your time in service to your diagnosis and now your claim.
A good nexus letter also requires a solid rationale. In this case, a veteran has a degenerative spinal condition that is service-connected and causes severe pain. During several historical pain management visits, the veteran presented symptoms of elevated blood pressure and headaches. A good nexus letter discusses the relationship between these conditions with peer-reviewed medical articles and will discuss how the veteran’s history of blood pressure readings fits with medical science on the subject.
The standard for winning these claims with the VA is “at least as likely as not.” If a veteran’s condition is “at least as likely as not” related to their time in service or to a condition that is already service-connected, then the VA should grant the veteran disability benefits.
Tips for a strong VA Disability benefits nexus letter
Do your research
A successful nexus letter should include concrete evidence of conditions and a link to a veteran’s time in the service. Nexus letters should not contain wild theories of service connection and, instead, use facts and research that would hold up in a courtroom.
Use credible sources
We highly suggest using credible sources when writing a nexus letter. For example, don’t use Wikipedia. But do research articles from the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. National Library of Medicine. These resources have thousands of articles written by medical researchers and highly-acclaimed doctors. You can research your mental or physical conditions and find out how they are related to your time in the service.
Consider toxic exposure in cancer cases
Military bases are often polluted and many of them are now Superfund Clean Up Sites. Military base toxic exposure claims can be won if veterans prove that exposure to a chemical or toxin is responsible for their cancer. Veterans can obtain valuable research on cancers and causes from the National Cancer Institute.
Make a strong argument
Once the research is completed, it’s time to write a strong argument. A nexus letter should not be based on emotion. The central argument should be based on research of the veteran’s mental and physical conditions.
Get help with your VA disability benefits nexus letter
The VA-accredited disability attorneys at Woods and Woods have successfully submitted thousands of nexus letters and have helped thousands of veterans with their applications and appeals. Our law firm has
Call us today to discuss your VA disability appeal or your first application. The call is free and we won’t charge you a single fee until we win your case.
Talk to Us About Your Claim: (866) 232-5777
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
While you can do some of the research on your own, the actual nexus letter should be written by a doctor or medical professional. Finding a qualified doctor or medical professional who knows VA law can be difficult. For example, Woods & Woods had to find good doctors and train them on VA law. We tried a few “medical experts” that claim to focus on VA law, but we found their nexus letters to be very weak.
Yes, if your doctor agrees. However, we want you to understand your doctor likely does not know VA disability law – even if they work for the VA. It might not be in your best interest to have your personal doctor write your nexus letter. You are asking your doctor to essentially act like a lawyer and create a legal document. Your personal doctor may not know how to write a strong nexus letter to best benefit your claim.