Secondary VA Claims: What You Need to Know

It can be difficult to navigate the complexity of the Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits system, particularly when trying to comprehend secondary claims. Veterans need to understand secondary VA claims since they can have a big influence on their compensation and general well-being. The purpose of this in-depth tutorial is to clarify secondary claims—what they are, how they operate, and why veterans need them.

What are Secondary VA Claims?

Conditions or disabilities that are a consequence of a primary handicap related to military service but not directly caused by military service are referred to as secondary VA claims. These claims recognize that a main handicap may result in additional health problems that could not have arisen in the absence of the accident or illness associated with the service.

For instance, if a veteran has a knee injury during service and that injury results in arthritis in the same knee, the arthritis may qualify for a subsequent claim. It acknowledges the domino effect the veteran's service-connected impairment has on their overall health.

Fast Facts

Secondary claims can lead to a higher disability rating, increasing benefits and support for veterans.

The Importance of Secondary Claims

Because they guarantee veterans receive compensation that fairly represents the whole scope of their impairments, secondary claims are essential. These statements acknowledge the interdependence of health and the way that injuries sustained while serving a country can cause subsequent health problems. Veterans can obtain more benefits and support by submitting secondary claims, which might result in a higher disability rating.

How to File a Secondary Claim

There are various phases involved in filing a secondary claim, so it's important to handle the process methodically and carefully. This is a broad summary:

Fast Facts

The VA requires detailed medical records and possibly expert opinions to establish the connection between primary and secondary conditions.

Challenges in Filing Secondary Claims

Even though it might appear simple, veterans frequently run into difficulties while submitting follow-up claims. Creating a distinct and convincing connection between the primary and secondary circumstances is one of the main challenges. Detailed medical documentation and occasionally professional judgment are needed for this.

Navigating the VA's bureaucratic process, which can be difficult and time-consuming, is another problem. It's important to be persistent and patient, and you should think about asking a veterans service group or a VA-accredited person for help.

Tips for a Successful Secondary Claim

Think about the following advice to improve your chances of a secondary claim succeeding:

Fast Facts

The process of filing a secondary claim involves identifying potential conditions, gathering evidence, completing VA forms, submitting the claim, attending medical exams, and awaiting a decision.


Secondary VA claims are essential to guarantee that veterans receive all of the benefits they are entitled to. Comprehending these claims, the filing procedure, and the obstacles involved is essential for any veteran requesting benefits for disabilities related to their military service. Being proactive, organized, and aware can help veterans navigate the VA system more successfully and receive benefits that correctly acknowledge the entire impact of their service on their health and well-being.

Learn how secondary medical conditions affect your veterans’ disability benefits from our resources at Disability Help. Protection Status