Pre-existing conditions


When I was a pre-teenager I broke both of my wrist, two years apart. When I joined the Navy at 19 years old I noted the wrist fractures on my entrance physical. I am now having severe wrist pain and intend to file a disability claim for aggravation. I do not have any documented issues in my military medical records. So my question is: Can pre -existing conditions like these be service connected? I was a Navy (CB) Construction Battalion Builder in Vietnam in 1970. I am currently seeing a civilian Rheumatologist and am waiting on test results for arthritis. My disabilities include PTSD, Diabetes II and some others. Currently at 80%. Thank You.


Jim's Reply:

 'Can preexisting conditions like these be service connected?'

Yes, absolutely. This is too often a steep uphill climb but with the appropriate evidence and logical presentation, you may have an opportunity to prove service connection.

You'll need an Independent Medical Opinion (IMO) written by a professional who speaks the language of the VA rater. While your rheumatologist may (or may not) agree that military service caused, aggravated  or contributed to your current disabling wrist conditions, how the opinion is phrased can make or break the claim for you. If you think your doctor is going to do a good job, go for it. Otherwise talk with an IMO doctor to have your records reviewed by a pro who does this every day.

Good luck!