A veteran is a “person who served in the active military, naval, or air service, and who was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable." Disabilities that result from a veteran’s willful misconduct are not compensable. Veterans are entitled to compensation for disabilities incurred in or aggravated during active military, naval, or air service. Service includes the period starting on the date of entry into active service and ending on the date of discharge from active service.”

A battlefield wound to the knee and a knee injured while sliding into second base during a baseball game played during active service may both eventually be determined service-connected conditions.

Assuming the claimant has established the status of a “veteran”, the three basic entitlement criteria are:

  • Evidence (usually medical evidence) that the veteran currently suffers from a disability;

  • Evidence of an incident, injury, or event during the period of the veteran’s military service;

  • Evidence (usually medical evidence) of a link between the current disability and the incident, injury, or event during service

There are three issues to address with a veteran’s claim for disability compensation:

  • Whether the veteran is entitled to disability compensation

  • The degree of the veteran’s disability (from 0% to 100%)

  • The effective date of the award of disability compensation (the effective date is the date from which monthly payments are made). The effective date is usually (but not always) the date the claim is received by the VA