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January 21, 2020

20 Reasons Why Your VA Claim Was DENIED!

Last updated on August 2, 2023

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want to learn how to implement these strategies to get the VA benefits you deserve, click here to speak with a VA claim expert for free.

Getting that horrible letter saying your va claim was denied after spending months or YEARS of working on your claim is FRUSTRATING!

Table of Cotents
why was my va claim denied

We don’t want a lack of knowledge or information to be the reason for any veteran to get their claim denied.

In this post, we asked a group of THOUSANDS of veterans what the TOP reason why their claim got denied was.

And we compiled them for you here.

IN ADDITION to our research and articles linking to how to PREVENT this from happening to you in the future!

Ready for this?!

#1 Reason why your VA Claim was denied – Assuming if a condition is in your medical records, it will automatically be service-connected: 

While in the military, we are taught not to assume anything, this is also true for the VA. Even if you have documented health issues in your military records, the VA may say, the condition is not service-connected. That is because they do not see a connection to military service.

To PREVENT this from happening, here is a list of documents which (when done well) will prove your service connection:

These items could provide additional information needed for the VA to service-connect your disability.

#2 Reason why your VA Claim was denied – Thinking the VA will help you: 

The VA will not help you in the way you would like them too. The VA doctors will treat us for our conditions, but they will not help you with the claims process. That is not their job. It is up to you and the veterans’ service organizations to put together your claim.

Do not count on the VA doctors to fill out a DBQ or Nexus letter. You will more likely than not have to go to a civilian doctor to get these items and will have to pay for them.

Take the time to learn about the disability claims process and do not expect help from the VA.

va organizations will not help you with your claim

#3 Why your VA Claim was denied – Trusting the Veterans Service Organizations (VSO) will take care of everything for you:

When you get your transition briefing, the VA representative section may talk about using them to assist with your disability claim.

Almost everyone goes to them thinking since they came recommended by the VA, they will get the job done.

Just give them your records; they submit the claim for you and wait. You trust them to do the job.

This is not always the case, and as you soon find out, everything is out of your control. When you try to get information from your VSO, you do not hear back. You don’t know what they filed for what records they used, how long it took them to the claim.

Follow-up as best you can with VSOs.

Even though this is the VSOs duty to assist in your VA Claim, we would suggest YOU take the initiative in your claim. Get your relevant medical evidence together. Go see doctors to get your DBQ and Nexus. Talk to people about your buddy letters. This is 100% in your hands and your future we are talking about here.

VSOs have hundreds of cases on his desk every week of vets just like you. Get your evidence together!


#4 Reason why your Claim was denied – Not learning how the system works:

 The VA is a bureaucracy, and like the military, you need to learn how the system works. When you do not take the time to learn about the system, you can hurt yourself, trying to get what you want.

 If you learn how to navigate and work within the system, you have a better chance to get a proper disability rating.

The primary regulation driving the VA disability system is CFR Title 38 Part 4, the VA Schedule of Ratings. This is where you will find all of the information concerning your disability and how it is rated.

The regulation is something that you should familiarize yourself with. It is not necessary to learn the whole thing, but the information is beneficial to know when you file a claim.

Other places where you can gather information on VA disability is VA Claims Insider blogs and videos. Military Disability Made Easy has a wealth of information detailing every single VA condition and what you can be rated for. Both of these websites have a search function that you can use to locate what you need.

By educating yourself before, you are setting yourself up for success by knowing the claims process!

Top 3 Reasons WHY VA Claims Get DENIED (*LIVE* with Brian Reese VA)

#5 Reason why your VA Claim got a denial – Not knowing the law and what you are entitled:

 CFR Title 38 Part 4, the VA Schedule of Ratings is the law covering disability. Not learning the law and what your entitlements are on hurts yourself.

You do not need to be a lawyer to learn about what your entitlements are. You only need to look at the items that are specific to your case. Knowing will help you understand what the VA is looking for and how you will be rated.

This is crucial. You do NOT need a lawyer to tell you about this information!!! It is all on the VA’s website!

Understanding the law comes in handy if you get an unfavorable rating on your claim. Knowing the law will help you prepare for a higher-level review if you need one.

VA Claims Insider Presents: Top 3 VA Disability Claim Mistakes [NEW TIPS!]

#6 Reason why your VA Claims denied – Not reviewing your medical records before filing: 

One thing that is an absolute must is to do a complete medical records review. You need to know what is there and what is not.

If you are missing any records, you will find out during the review, and you can take action to get them. To find out where your missing files are read, Where do I find my Military Medical Records?

Not knowing what you sent into the VA or having absent records can delay the claims process and will take longer than average. The VA could also outright deny your claim due to a lack of evidence. Don’t let reviewing your files be the ready why your VA Clain was denied!


Know this – you NEED copies of your records!

You should have a copy to EVERYTHING to be able to reference in your C&P exam and knowing going forward.

#7 Reason why your VA Claim denied – The shotgun approach to filing a claim: 

This method is when you get everything you can think of into a single request and see what sticks. This approach to your VA claim makes your claim take LONGER in most cases!

Another problem with this approach is the claims officer only has a limited time to make a rating decision. The wide variety of information could make the rater deny or lower a giving rating.

With this, you’re throwing everything at him and making him sift through your records to find out if there is anything relevant in there. Don’t do this.

The solution to this problem is to submit multiple smaller focused claims. A small, concentrated application reduces the workload of the rating officer. It gives them more time to consider all of the information and get the rating you deserve.

Yes, this might take a little longer, but the benefits for a higher rating make it worth a little extra time.  

filing a va for everything possible - don't do it!

#8 Reason why your VA Claim was denied – Not adding Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ’s) to your claim:

The DBQ is an essential aspect of your claim. The document allows the health care provider to make statements about your specific health issue. They will be able to state whether or the problem is or is not service-connected. This one document could be a deciding factor in your disability case. If you can get your doctor to fill it out, do and be sure to add it to your claim.

In addition, many veterans will bring a copy of the DBQ to their C&P exam to have as an option for their rater to review.

Do not force it on your C&P examiner, but have it as an option for them to look at during the exam could help you.

Reason why your VA Claim was denied - Not adding Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ’s) to your claim

#9 Reason why your VA Claim was denied – Did not add Nexus letters: 

The Nexus Letter is a document that a doctor can add to your claim. It is stating there is a service connection or not to your medical condition. They are used to make a connection from a medical condition to another. Add this letter when filing for secondary service disability claims.

This letter proves service-connection (or a nexus) and will be written by a doctor, PA, or NA. It will state their professional opinion on the likelihood of the service connection.

The Nexus letter could be evidence that tips the balance on your claim. Give your request more strength for the VA to evaluate and add a Nexus letter.


Reason why your VA Claim was denied - Did not add Nexus letters

#10 Why your VA Claim was denied – Not writing a personal statement: 

Reason #10 why your VA Claim was denied is no personal statement!! A personal statement is considered Lay Evidence by the VA. This type of lay evidence is about how your disability affects your day-to-day life. You can make a statement as to what symptoms you have that are in line with the medical evidence.

No one can write your story like you can. YOU are the only person who can tell the VA how you felt or what you did. Tell the VA this!!!

Yes, it sucks re-living the instance. But it’s WORTH IT!

If you had a back injury, you could write about how this injury has affected your daily life. Or how it has impacted your ability to work the types of jobs you used to do.

Add a personal statement to all of the claims you file no matter the type of claim it is, from tinnitus to PTSD. Every condition you have complicates your life in different ways. The statement is your personal story; the VA must consider this evidence.

Are you an Elite or Mastery member with VA Claims Insider?! We have a personal statement and buddy letter generator available to our members!! CLICK HERE TO ACCESS!

***2020 Updated Info*** What is the VA Claims Process and How to file a claim correctly!

#11 Reason why the VA Denies Claims – Not asking friends and family for buddy letters: 

Buddy letters are statements from friends, family, and coworkers and tell your story from another perspective.

If you lack evidence in your records, a statement from someone who witnessed the incident should be added in place of medical records. 

Your buddy can write that they saw the event happen, what happened, and when. If you injured yourself and did not report it, this is a way that you can fill-in-the-blanks. A witness to an event is considered strong evidence.

Another type of buddy letter is from family members, this includes a spousal letter. If, for example, you suffer from migraine headaches, a letter from family members can tell the story as to what this has done to you personally. They see how you have to stay in bed for days at a time and how you are entirely unable to function.   

A spousal or family buddy letter can share about the change in you before and after your time in service! Paint the picture of how the disability changed or got worse after your time in the military.

The third type of buddy letter is from friends. These people are around you a lot, and they know you the best. They can see the differences in how you act and what changes you are going through. If at one time you were able to help them out with projects and now you cannot. They can tell the story of what you used to be like, and how often you cancel or how your disability prevents you from going out with them.

Let the people closest to you provide support and ask them to write a buddy letter. The VA also considers this lay evidence and takes it into account.

veteran buddy letters

Reason #12 your VA Claim was Denied – Not asking for a higher-level review: 

When your VA claim was denied or less than what you think you deserve, you just let it go. You need to ask for a higher-level review of your claim.

When you think you had a lousy compensation and pension exam (C&P) or if you feel the claim’s rater mistreated you. This type of thing happens, unfortunately, too often, and you need to punch back by asking for a higher-level review.

The higher-level review can reverse the previous bad ratings or find errors the C&P examiner made. They then readjust your rating to the level it should have been. Always prepare to do a higher-level review on your disability claims.

higher level review

#13 Reason your VA Claim was Denied – Not appealing a bad decision: 

When you get denied or are not satisfied with the rating or higher-level review, the next line of action is to appeal the rating. The appeal will be put before judges to decide on your claim.

When your statement of claim arrives in the mail stating why denied your claim, you will have a year to file a notice of disagreement. After you notify the VA about the is an agreement, they will then send another letter. Upon arrival, you will have 60 days to file a VA Form 9 Substantive Appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.

If the first appeal is still not satisfactory, there are two more levels in the appeals process:

  • Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
  • The Federal Circuit

The appeals process can take quite a bit of time to resolve, so do not get discouraged. 

va board of appeals

#14 Reason for your VA Claim Denial – Not filing for secondary conditions: 

Secondary condition claims are lesser-known than direct service-connected claims. The first injury causes secondary conditions. 

An example would be if you injured your right knee while on duty and then developed problems with your left knee. The damage would cause your left leg to compensate for the right knee injury, and the left could not handle the extra stress.

You must have evidence of the secondary condition, and your doctor can determine the first injury is the cause of the second.

Know your disability and learn what might happen as a cause of your injuries. Then file a claim for secondary conditions.

Secondary Service Connection SECRETS [LIVE with VA Claims Insider!]

#15 Reason for a VA Claim Denial – Not knowing how the disability percentages work: 

This one goes with knowing the law. Knowing how the rates work will also let you understand what your doctor’s diagnosis means to the VA.

The percentages are how severe your disability is. The VA lists the disability and has a set of standards for each percentage level.

va disability percentage

#16 Reason for your VA Claim Denial – Not knowing the difference between a standard claim and a fully developed claim: 

The difference between the two claims can determine the speed of which your request is processed.

  • The Fully Developed Claim is a claim that has all of the medical evidence needed to make a decision. You, the veteran, submit the evidence, and the VA does not have to assist you in finding your medical records.
  • The Standard Claim is when you submit partial evidence, and the VA has to find the rest of your records, to make a claims decision. This type of claim can take more time to complete.

If you have the ability, it is beneficial to submit a fully developed claim.  

va denies claims

#17th Reason your VA Claim was Denied – Not filing a supplemental or secondary claim for fear of having your current disability reduced: 

There is always a fear when you open a new claim, but it is not a reason to not file a supplemental or secondary claim.

Every time you file, the VA has an opportunity to re-evaluate your records. They will determine if the conditions have improved or not.

Keep in mind some of the rules the VA has for reducing a rating:

The 5-year rule: If the rating has been in effect for five years. It can be lowered If your condition has improved on a continual basis. Otherwise, it cannot. The VA must have documented proof the condition has improved.

10-year rule: A service-connected disability rating cannot be reduced if it has been in effect for ten years. Ratings can be reduced if evidence shows the condition has improved. If the VA can prove fraud, it will eliminate the rating.

20-year rule: If the rating has been in effect for 20 years, it cannot be reduced below the lowest percentage it has held for the previous 20 years. The only is if the VA can prove fraud, will it be reduced.

100% rule: The VA has to prove your medical condition has improved, and as a result, you can perform substantial work.

Do not let fear stop you from filing a claim. You can find these rules in CFR 38 Part 3.

How to Get 100% Total and Permanent Disability VA [NEW!]

#18 Reason a VA Disability denied – Not filing a mental health claim: 

There is a stigma about filing mental health claims. Because these types of claims are not visible, it may not seem relevant. There is also the issue of losing security clearances and positions if you seek help while on active duty.

While you are in, you should do everything possible to get it documented. If you do not, it can have a detrimental effect later in life.

When you have a disability, it affects your lifestyle.

You’re unable to do things you once found joy in. You get frustrated easily. Life is not the same.

Like it or not, our quality of life is reduced. We are unable to live the life we should have if we did not have a disability.

If you have PTSD, you should file, even if the PTSD is not combat-related. Both types of PTSD can have stressors that can interfere with everyday life.

Another type of mental health claim is Somatic Stress Disorder (SSD). This type of claim is due to living in constant pain.

Get the proper documentation to file for a mental health claim!! You deserve it!

#19 Reason for your VA Claim Denial – Procrastination:

Who does not procrastinate from time to time? Procrastinating on filing a VA disability claim is costing you piece-of-mind, your well-being, and money.

Maybe you are thinking, I do not have all of my medical records, or you think it is the VA will just deny me. If you do not know what to do, check out our podcast, YouTube videos, and blogs cover everything you could possibly need to know about filing your claim. The first step is – get your BUTT to the doctor! Then open a current intent to file! You got this veteran!

Stop making excuses and file your claim!!! Need help? Our coaches are available to work with you one on one through our ELITE program which can be found HERE!

VA Claim Denial

#20 Reason for your VA Claim Denial – Giving up:

We have been through the VA system and can feel this one. All that we can say is, we know you are tired and frustrated. We are disabled veterans ourselves, do not give up. We know what it is like, and we want you to keep fighting until you get the disability you deserve by law.

These were the most common mistakes veterans made when filing VA disability claims. Not taking the time to learn and developing a strategy can cost you valuable time and money. What mistakes have you made?

To learn more, go to VA Claims Insider Elite. We will help you avoid these mistakes and help you develop a plan of action for your VA claim. No more procrastination, you are losing time and money, and no more frustration because your VA Claim was denied. ELITE is the way to go.

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What is VA Claims Insider?

VA Claims Insider is an education-based Coaching/Consulting company for disabled veterans exploring eligibility for increased VA disability benefits and who wish to learn more about that process. We also connect veterans with vetted independent medical providers in our referral network for medical examinations, Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ) reviews, and credible Medical Nexus Letters for a wide range of disability conditions.

The VA Claims Insider WHY:

We believe many veterans are underrated by the VA. Our purpose is to get underrated veterans what they legally, morally, ethically, and medically deserve. We are “INSIDERS!”

The VISION behind VA Claims Insider:

To be the most trusted name in education-based resources for veterans.

Our MISSION as VA Claims Insider:

Veterans helping veterans access education-based resources to get the VA disability rating and compensation they deserve.

Become an Insider

We’re Veterans helping Veterans Worldwide™, and since 2016 we’ve helped 10,000+ Veterans just like you INCREASE their VA disability rating!

About the Author

About VA Claims Insider

VA Claims Insider is an education-based coaching/consulting company. We’re here for disabled veterans exploring eligibility for increased VA disability benefits and who wish to learn more about that process. We also connect veterans with independent medical professionals in our referral network for medical examinations, disability evaluations, and credible independent medical opinions and nexus statements (medical nexus letters) for a wide range of disability conditions.

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