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Top 10 Reasons Why a VA Claim Gets Denied

Claim denials can be a major headache for both patients and providers. Without a successful appeal, denied claims can leave patients without the care they need and providers without payment for their services. Understanding why a claim may be denied can be the first step in successfully appealing a denied claim. Here are the top ten reasons why VA claims get denied.

1) VA Denies Because You Lack a Current Disability – Do You Need a Diagnosis?

One of the main reasons a claim can be denied is if there is insufficient evidence to demonstrate the presence of a current disability. The VA requires veterans to establish that they are currently experiencing the symptoms and effects of the claimed condition. This means that the disability must be ongoing and affecting the veteran’s daily functioning and earning capacity at the time of the claim.

However, it is important to note that a formal diagnosis is not always necessary to establish a current disability. While a diagnosis can make the process of obtaining service-connected compensation easier, it is not a requirement according to the law. This is particularly relevant in cases where veterans suffer from conditions like chronic pain, which may not have a specific diagnosis but still cause functional impairment.

To ensure a successful claim, veterans should provide thorough documentation of their current disability, including medical records, test results, and any other relevant evidence that demonstrates the existence and impact of the claimed condition.

2) Reason why your Claim was denied – Not learning how the system works

Failure to understand how the VA disability system works can lead to claim denials. Veterans who do not educate themselves about the regulations and processes may hinder their chances of receiving a proper disability rating. Familiarizing oneself with the VA Schedule of Ratings (CFR Title 38 Part 4) and utilizing available resources can greatly enhance the likelihood of a successful claim.

3 ) VA Denies Due to Lack of a Medical Nexus Connecting Your Disability to Your Military Service

Another common reason for claim denials is the absence of a medical nexus, which establishes a connection between the veteran’s current disability and their military service. A nexus opinion is typically obtained during a Compensation & Pension (C&P) examination conducted by the VA. If the examiner determines that it is “less likely than not” that the condition is related to service, the claim is often denied.

However, veterans have the opportunity to challenge negative nexus opinions. By presenting counterarguments and additional evidence, veterans can dispute the examiner’s opinion and strengthen their case for service connection.

4) VA Denies VA Disability Benefits Due to Lack of Evidence

VA often denies disability claims when there is a lack of evidence in the veteran’s file to support a favorable decision. The VA has a duty to assist the veteran by gathering relevant information, such as service personnel records, service medical records, and VA medical records, which could support the claim. This duty to assist also applies to the adequacy of Compensation & Pension (C&P) exams. If a veteran undergoes an exam that they believe is inadequate or does not accurately describe their disability, they should raise their concerns to the VA.

In situations where the VA is unable to obtain certain records despite reasonable efforts, they have a duty to notify the veteran of their inability to obtain those records. Additionally, the veteran is informed that they bear the ultimate responsibility of providing the VA with any missing records. Ensuring that all relevant evidence is properly documented and submitted is crucial to overcoming a denial based on a lack of evidence.

5) Reason why your VA Claim was denied – Did not add Nexus letters

Nexus letters play a critical role in establishing the link between a veteran’s disability and their military service. A nexus letter is a medical opinion provided by a qualified healthcare professional that connects the claimed condition to the veteran’s service. It serves as crucial evidence in supporting a claim for service connection.

However, if a veteran fails to include nexus letters or does not provide sufficient medical evidence to establish the required nexus, their claim may be denied. It is essential to seek out healthcare providers familiar with VA claims or obtain independent medical examinations to obtain well-documented nexus letters.

By including strong nexus letters that clearly demonstrate the connection between the claimed condition and military service, veterans can enhance their chances of a successful claim and a favorable decision from the VA.

6) Veteran Missed Their C&P Exam Appointment

When pursuing a VA disability claim, it is common for veterans to be scheduled for a Compensation & Pension (C&P) exam. This exam is a crucial step in evaluating the extent of a veteran’s disability and its connection to military service. However, if a veteran misses their C&P exam appointment without a valid reason or fails to reschedule promptly, it can result in a claim denial.

The VA relies on the information gathered during the C&P exam to assess the severity and impact of the claimed condition. A missed exam prevents the necessary evaluation from taking place, making it difficult for the VA to make an informed decision on the claim. It is crucial for veterans to prioritize attending their C&P exam appointments and promptly reschedule if a conflict arises.

If a veteran misses their scheduled C&P exam, it is important to contact the VA immediately, explain the circumstances, and request to reschedule the exam. By promptly addressing the missed appointment and ensuring the exam takes place, veterans can avoid claim denials resulting from missed C&P exams.

7) VA Denies Because The Veteran Used the Wrong VA Form

A frequent reason for claim denials is when veterans incorrectly fill out VA forms or use the wrong forms altogether. The complexity of the VA claims process, combined with a lack of education and guidance from the Department of Veterans Affairs, can lead to confusion and mistakes.

Disabled veterans often invest significant time and effort in filing forms and gathering evidence, only to realize later that they used the incorrect form for their specific claim. This error can result in a denied claim, causing veterans to lose valuable time, money, and potential benefits.

To avoid this issue, it is crucial to carefully review and double-check all forms before submitting them. Take the time to understand the specific requirements for your claim and ensure that you are using the correct form. Seeking guidance from veteran service organizations, accredited representatives, or legal professionals experienced in VA claims can also help prevent these mistakes and increase the chances of a successful claim.

8) VA Denies Due to Missed VA Disability Form Deadlines

Meeting deadlines is crucial when filing a VA disability claim. Veterans are often required to submit various forms and documentation within specified timeframes. Failure to meet these deadlines can result in a claim denial.

The VA has specific deadlines for submitting forms such as the initial application (VA Form 21-526EZ), Notice of Disagreement (VA Form 21-0958), or other supporting documentation. If a veteran misses these deadlines without a valid reason or fails to request an extension in a timely manner, their claim may be denied.

To avoid missing deadlines, it is essential to stay organized and keep track of the required forms and submission dates. Adhering to these deadlines demonstrates your commitment to the claims process and allows the VA to process your claim more efficiently.

If circumstances prevent you from meeting a deadline, it is crucial to contact the VA as soon as possible and explain the situation. Requesting an extension or providing a valid reason for the delay may help prevent claim denial due to missed form deadlines.

9) Your VA Claim was Denied – Not asking for a higher-level review

If your VA claim is denied or you receive a rating lower than what you believe you deserve, it is essential to take action rather than accepting the decision. One option available to you is to request a higher-level review of your claim.

There are instances where the compensation and pension (C&P) exam may have been inadequate or where you feel mistreated by the claim’s rater. These unfortunate situations occur more frequently than desired, but you have the right to fight back by seeking a higher-level review.

By initiating a higher-level review, the previous unfavorable ratings can be reconsidered, and any errors made by the C&P examiner can be rectified. This can lead to a fair and accurate adjustment of your disability rating.

Always be prepared to pursue a higher-level review for your disability claims if you disagree with the decision or believe there were discrepancies in the evaluation process. This allows you to actively advocate for your rights and potentially achieve the proper compensation you deserve.

10) Reason for your VA Claim Denial – Not filing for secondary conditions

Another reason why your VA claim may be denied is if you failed to file for secondary conditions. Secondary conditions refer to medical issues that arise due to a preexisting condition or injury. If a veteran fails to file for secondary conditions, they could miss out on critical and potentially life-saving benefits from the VA. When filing a disability claim with the VA, it is essential to list all diagnosed medical conditions.The VA may deny a claim or reduce benefits if veterans fail to file for secondary conditions that are related to their disability. It is important to be aware of the full scope of your condition and seek medical advice if necessary.


1. What is a typical reason for a denied claim?

A typical reason for a denied claim is the lack of medical necessity. Insurance companies typically require medical services and treatments to be deemed necessary based on the patient’s condition. If the insurer determines that the requested service or treatment does not meet the criteria for medical necessity, they may deny the claim.

2. What are the 3 most common mistakes on a claim that will cause denials?

The three most common mistakes on a claim that can cause denials are:

1. Incorrect or incomplete information: Failing to provide accurate and complete information on the claim form, such as incorrect patient details, inaccurate billing codes, or missing documentation, can result in claim denials.

2. Lack of prior authorization: Certain services or treatments may require prior authorization from the insurance company. If a provider fails to obtain the necessary authorization before rendering the service, the claim may be denied.

3. Out-of-network services: If a patient seeks medical care from a provider who is not within their insurance plan’s network, the claim may be denied or subject to reduced coverage, unless it qualifies as an emergency.

3. How often do claims get denied?

The frequency of claim denials can vary depending on various factors, including the insurance company, the type of service, and the accuracy of the claim submission. While there is no specific universal statistic on claim denial rates, some estimates suggest that claims can be denied in a range of 5% to 20% of the time.

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