A nexus letter links a Veteran’s time in service and their current disability. It is by far the hardest element of service connection to prove. However, it’s not impossible. This letter, in many situations, allows for evidence to point in favor towards the Veteran. With a nexus letter, Veterans increase their chance of a favorable claim decision from the VA.
What is a Nexus Letter?
A nexus letter is evidence from a medical professional. This letter represents clear connections between an in-service event and the Veteran’s current medical condition(s). Veterans seeking compensation should provide a nexus letter with their claim. It can dramatically impact the claim decision.
Although, it is not a requirement for a Veteran to submit a nexus letter, it sometimes make the difference between an award and a denial. Also, there are no specific requirements of when a letter can be submitted. A Veteran can submit a nexus letter with their initial application for benefits, while their claim is being developed, or after an adverse C&P Exam. However, it’s best to submit a nexus letter earlier rather than later.
Terminology can be very important within the nexus letter. Many doctors are not familiar with the VA system and VA standards; instead, they are familiar with the concept of “medical certainty.” Medical certainty is a much higher standard than the VA requires. Make sure your doctor knows VA terminology in order to avoid a situation where the doctor applies the wrong standard. For example, the terms “more likely than not” or “at least likely as not” should be used to express that there is a 50% likelihood that the Veteran’s current disability is related to his service. Using other terms may lead to the VA misunderstanding the opinions and in results, not support the service connection.
Here are 3 things that make for a stronger letter:
- Use a board certified medical professional
- Make sure the doctor has access to your relevant records
- The doctor’s opinion does not have to be conclusive. They just need to point out whether “it is as least as likely as not” that the condition was cause by an event during service
Keep in mind that, the doctor who agrees to write a nexus is a neutral party. With that being said, the doctor is not required, or obligated, to agree with the Veteran. Instead, they should act as an unbiased party that provides an honest opinion based on their review of the evidence presented to them. It’s up to the Veteran to provide the evidence that best builds their case for disability benefits.
A nexus letter is one of the most important pieces of evidence that connects your condition to your service for your VA disability claim. A nexus, along with lay evidence, can help you prove service connection and build a strong claim packet.
Veterans Guardian partners with veterans to identify possible service-connected conditions, investigate medical and lay-evidence, and to develop a claim strategy. We help provide them the information and education needed to support a claim. This is simply because having the physical or mental conditions is only half the battle.