How Do I Establish a Disability Connection through Secondary Service Connection?

Xray of Shoulder and Collar Bone

As we discussed in our article, The Five Ways to Establish a Service Connection, one means of establishing a service connection for disability benefits is through a secondary service connection.

What is a Secondary Service Connection?
A secondary service connection is when your disability symptoms are caused or made worse by a medical illness or injury and that illness or injury has a connection to your time serving in the armed forces.

Regarding secondary service connections, the law states: “disability which is proximately due to or the result of a service-connected disease or injury shall be service-connected. When service connection is thus established for a secondary condition, the secondary condition shall be considered part of the original condition.”

What Are Examples of Secondary Service Injuries?
One example of a secondary service injury is any disability with a service connection that results in psychological illness, such as depression or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Another example would be if you contracted service-connected diabetes which then caused a secondary symptom of heart disease.

Does it Matter if My Secondary Service Connection Symptoms Began Awhile After My Initial Injury or Illness?
No, however a delayed secondary service connection filing may result in a delay in compensation.

How Do I Prove my Secondary Service Connection?
You will need to provide sufficient evidence to prove that it is “as likely as not” that your service-connected condition either caused or worsened your secondary service condition. The most effective means of supplying evidence are medical records and opinions, as well as supplementing with personal experiences and statements from loved ones or coworkers.

If you have more questions about establishing a service connection or need assistance defending your disability claim with confidence, please contact us today at (855) 312-5575.