The NEXUS Letter can be the most critical part of your claim. While the word Nexus sounds like it came straight from a sci-fi movie, it simply means that the link between your disability and how an in-service event caused it has been identified. Because providing a Nexus is essential in order to have your claim for disability compensation accepted, here are 3 steps to getting your nexus letter together.
1. What is a NEXUS letter?
The VA requires that veterans provide a link between their current, diagnosed disability and how they acquired it during their time in military service. It can be linked to an event, an injury, or an illness the veteran experienced before discharge. This link is officially termed as the Nexus.
In order to prove the Nexus, you must get a licensed medical professional to put together a document explaining the service-connection of your disability. This is what the Nexus letter is. A written document linking your current injury to an event that you were apart of. After speaking with a medical professional, they can write a letter on your behalf explaining the connection between service and your disability claim.
Often what happens for many Veterans is they are fearful of going to the doctor because they believe that there are possible consequences they feel could result from going to see a doctor.
For example, if you are a gun owner you might be worried that if you are experiencing PTSD and you go to see someone for it, they could determine that you are unsafe and take away your weapons. While this isn’t true, it is a very common misconception for Veterans.
What is true is that it is essential to go to a medical professional in order to get the benefits you deserve. The opinion of the doctor is often a very valuable part of a disability claim. When you do decide to get diagnosed and start the journey of making a claim to the VA you must make sure to fully communicate all the details of your condition you’re experiencing as well as when it began, for how long it has been going on, etc…
The medical professional will give you an exam, write about your condition (PTSD, hearing loss, etc)., determine the initial event causing the condition, and explain why you have not been going to see the VA doctors. This is all part of having them put together the Nexus letter for you, which will be the final document with all the information included. By having this all written out, it could result in you being awarded the amount you deserve.
2. How to get your NEXUS
If you are already being treated by a doctor, it will be much easier to get a medical Nexus from them. They have already seen your files and have formed a relationship with you.
It’s important to note, however, that the doctor needs to put together the Nexus letter using VA terminology. Most doctors are used to using the concept of “medical certainty”, which is actually a higher standard than what the VA requires. Therefore it is extremely important that the VA terminology is explained to them in order for the VA to properly understand the letter in regards to supporting your service connection.
In fact, it may just be easier to see a VA doctor just in order to learn the proper terminology explaining your condition and the service connection according to what the VA looks for. They know what you need on your file and can write it correctly.
Our VA Claims Insider Elite program has an independent medical team which reviews your documents and write you a Nexus letter based on your specific conditions. After making an appointment with you, they will hear your story and write your letter.
A significant aspect of having an outside doctor write your letter is to make sure that they include they have reviewed all of your files before making this statement and that they are very familiar with your case.
3. When and what to submit
Submitting your Nexus letter early in the process is best for your outcome. It will be more beneficial for you to submit your claim during the early stages for the statement to be reviewed first.
An important aspect to note is that the purpose of this letter is not to “get around the VA.” Instead, you are getting as much evidence as possible to prove to the government that your statement is true. With this, it is important for the doctor writing your letter includes specific terms for the VA.
The opinion must be written as one of the following, “not likely,” “at least as likely as not,” “more than likely,” and “highly likely.”
If the doctor views the condition as at least 50% certain that the condition is service-related, then the medical professional can use “more than likely” in his evaluation.
As you review your letter and prepare to finally submit it, here are a few things to look for:
- The letter is brief but complete, with a focus on facts and conclusions.
- The doctor is certified in the area of health concerning the condition you are experiencing.
- The doctor’s opinion doesn’t have to be absolute but needs to at least point out whether the nexus of your condition “is as least as likely as not.”
- Referencing that you have been recently examined may also add additional value to the letter.
When you feel confident that your nexus letter is as strong as possible within the recommendations included in this article, it’s time to send it in.
And if you’d like additional help in forming the letter and having it reviewed by VA experts, just click here and the team at VA Claims Insider would be happy to assist you!
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About the Author
Brian Reese is one of the top VA disability benefits experts in the world and bestselling author of You Deserve It: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Veteran Benefits You’ve Earned (Second Edition).
Brian’s frustration with the VA claim process led him to create VA Claims Insider, which provides disabled veterans with tips, strategies, and lessons learned to win their VA disability compensation claim, faster, even if they’ve already filed, been denied, gave up, or don’t know where to start.
As the founder of VA Claims Insider and CEO of Military Disability Made Easy, he has helped serve more than 10 million military members and veterans since 2013 through free online educational resources.
He is a former active duty Air Force officer with extensive experience leading hundreds of individuals and multi-functional teams in challenging international environments, including a combat tour to Afghanistan in 2011 supporting Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.
Brian is a Distinguished Graduate of Management from the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO, and he holds an MBA from Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business, Stillwater, OK, where he was a National Honor Scholar (Top 1% of Graduate School class).