What Is the Presumption of Soundness in Veterans Disability Law?

Hey, Veterans out there, Travis Studdard back
here with another video. Today, I want to talk to you about something
that you may not know that much about, which is a concept known in VA law as The presumption
of Soundness. That may be a little bit confusing, but let
me go through that with you, and it may affect your situation, if you had a denial based
on some condition that pre-existed your military service. So what is The Presumption of Soundness? Let me just read to you what that is according
to VA law. It says, “Every Veteran shall be taken to
have been in sound condition when examined, accepted, and enrolled for service, except
as to defects, infirmities, or disorders noted at the time of the examination, acceptance,
and enrollment.” Let me put that in layman’s terms to you. If when you entered service, and you had an
exam upon entry, and that examiner did not find anything wrong with you, VA cannot later
say that your condition pre-existed service, because they didn’t find it. If they didn’t find it, they don’t get to
deny based on that being something that pre-existed service, because what the law is going to
assume is if they don’t find it didn’t already exist. In other words, it arose later on. Sometimes I do see decisions where a Veteran
is denied on a particular disability that they claim disability compensation for, because
VA says, “Well, you already had that when you entered service.” If that is the case, then it has to be on
that entry exam. If it’s not, then The Presumption of Soundness
applies. Now, VA can rebut that presumption, but they
have to have good, clear, unmistakable evidence that you, in fact, had this prior to you going
into service. How do you trigger that presumption of soundness? You show that you had a disability or a disease
that existed during your time of service. If you do that, then the presumption is triggered. At that point VA is very limited in their
ways that they can deny it. They can, again, go back then to your entrance
exam and find evidence that you, in fact, already had this, that the examiner found
it and then say, “Well, you can’t claim this benefit now, or you can’t receive for it because
we found it when you came in, but we admitted you to service anyway.” Again, this is a hugely powerful tool in your
VA disability claim. It gets wrongly applied, or not applied, as
the case may be, by VA lots of times, and I’ve seen some cases of that. If you are denied for a pre-existing condition,
whether they say you’re born with it, or that you just had this develop at some time in
your life prior to military service, you need to look further in that and question, “Does
the presumption of soundness apply?” It’s probably a good situation to have an
attorney look at it for you, as well, in that denial situation because, again, when we get
into these presumptions and where they shift and can be rebutted by only particular kinds
of evidence, again, that’s where it may benefit you to have a second set of eyes looking at
that for you. If you’d like to do that, go to our website,
winyourvetclaim.com. We’ve got articles on this and other topics
related to disability compensation claims, and I hope this one helps. Again, I’m going to come back with a couple
of more videos, because we could really dive deep into this concept and, again, it’s such
a powerful tool to have in your arsenal when you’re facing VA and they sometimes wrongly
deny your claim. Hope you liked it, if so give it a thumbs
up and check out the others. Thanks a lot.

One Reply to “What Is the Presumption of Soundness in Veterans Disability Law?”

  1. Great videos! What happens if a servicemember was denied because the VA said that it was a “pre-existing condition?” Subsequently, the veteran reenlist into the military, then the service member re-injures that body part(s) while on active duty. In this instance, the VA has all the information about the denial, can the veteran get it service connected in this case after the fact?

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