Establishing an In Service Event – Veterans’ Disability Compensation

In our last blog post in this series on veterans’ disability compensation benefits, we discussed the basic requirements of veterans’ disability compensation benefits and which individuals qualify as veterans able to apply for benefits.  This blog post will focus on the next requirement .  That requirement is establishing an in service event.

What is an in service event?

An in service event generally is just what it sounds like – something happened while the veteran was in service.  The in service event might be very straightforward like a knee injury during combat or a back injury lifting a backpack during training.

Establishing an in service event

The “in service event” could be established by a presumption for certain veterans who served in a particular place during a particular time.  For example, all veterans who set foot on land in Vietnam are presumed by the Department of Veterans Affairs to have been exposed to Agent Orange.  Also, all Gulf War veterans are presumed to have had an in service event which could lead to them developing Gulf War Syndrome.  Veterans who qualify for these presumptions do not need to establish that the particular event actually happened.

Veterans who do not qualify for a presumption may need to provide evidence establishing the in service event.  Often, this evidence can be provided through medical records kept while the veteran was in service.  If service medical records do not document the event, then the veteran may need to establish it through other documents or witnesses.

Establishing a disability

Once the veteran has met the requirement of establishing an in service event, the next requirement to qualify for veterans’ disability compensation benefits is establishing a current disability.  That requirement will be discussed in our next blog post in this series.