Service Connected Disabilities and Zero-Percent Ratings

When an illness or injury is not directly related to your military service, but is caused or worsened by an existing service-connected disability, you may be entitled to additional compensation benefits.

If your service-connected disability causes a new disability or worsens a non-service-connected disability, the new disability can be service-connected as secondary to the primary service-connected disability. Known as secondary service connection, the VA will treat your new disability as if it were related to your military service and provide a separate rating for this impairment.

Examples of Secondary Service Connections

For example, if you have a service-connected left knee disability, you may experience difficulty with walking and standing. As a result, you may tend to favor your right knee, causing you to develop problems in the right knee. Since your right knee condition was the result of your left knee disability, you can service connect the right knee as secondary to the service-connected left knee.

If you suffer from depression because your service-connected left knee disability causes chronic pain or prevents you from engaging in activities you once enjoyed, you can connect your depression to the service-connected left knee disability.

Call a Nationwide VA Benefits Claims Agent

Claims for secondary service connection often require medical opinions linking the new injury or illness to your existing service-connected disability. Many disabled veterans seek help from attorneys or VA-accredited claims agents like those at The Rep For Vets®. These claims agents are thoroughly familiar with the types of medical evidence needed to win a claim. If you have been denied secondary service connection, they can help. Even better, no matter where you live, they are just a phone call away. Call toll free at 888-573-7838 or fill out the contact form to learn more. Serving Veterans nationwide.