Why Did The VA Deny My Tinnitus Claim? | 3 Reasons
VA Denies a Large Number of Tinnitus Claims Based On MOS in Military Service
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) uses the Duty MOS Noise Exposure Listing to help determine if a Veteran’s hearing loss or tinnitus (ringing in the ears) is related to their military service.
If a Veteran’s service-connected hearing loss or tinnitus VA claim is denied, it is often because the VA was unable to establish a nexus, or connection between the Veteran’s condition and their active duty service. However, this does not mean that the Veteran’s claim is without merit. The VA may simply need more information in order to make a decision.
Veterans who have had their tinnitus claims denied should consider gathering additional evidence, such as statements from witnesses, to support their VA claim. By providing properly written lay statements, military veterans can increase their chances of having their VA tinnitus claims approved.
What are the reasons for denial of a VA Claim for Tinnitus
One of the most common reasons for a denial of a VA claim for tinnitus is that the Duty MOS Noise Exposure Listing has the veteran’s specific duty MOS or specialty code in the “low probability” column or it is not found.
If the veteran is in the low probability column, the event in service must be proven by the veteran. The veteran must demonstrate, through lay evidence, that their Duty MOS created exposure to hazardous noise levels.
If the VA tinnitus claim is denied, and the Veteran believes that their Duty MOS caused exposure to hazardous noise, they can file a Supplemental Claim or Higher Level Review claim.
The Supplemental Claim or Higher Level Review starts the appeals process with the VA.
Secondly, the VA may deny service connection to your VA disability claim due to not finding your MOS on the Duty MOS Noise Exposure Listing. This can happen with older veterans that were in a MOS or specialty that has since been retired. In this case, it is a good idea to find the retired MOS/Specialty codes and resubmit your VA tinnitus claim showing a translation from retired MOSs to what most it most closely translates to today.
This will show the VA the older service members current or translated job today, which will count as new and relevant evidence.
The final and common reason for a denial of a VA claim for tinnitus benefits is that the Veteran cannot prove an actual in-service event. The event does not have to be loud noise, it can be any head trauma or can be caused by many other already service connected conditions.
If you are currently service connected for sleep apnea, traumatic brain injury, or any other condition that may cause ringing in your ears (including medication), you can use this as a secondary service connection.
The Veteran will need to provide some type of service treatment records or lay evidence to prove the event or aggravation occurred. If you have been denied a VA claim for tinnitus, consider these three common reasons for denial and take appropriate action.
How To Increase Your Chances Of Having Your VA Disability Claim For Tinnitus Approved
If you are a veteran who suffers from tinnitus, you may be eligible for VA disability benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). However, the VA disability system can be notoriously difficult to navigate, and the claims process can be complicated. Here are a few tips to help increase your chances of having your claim approved.
First, make sure to include a Lay Statement with your VA tinnitus claim. This is a letter from you, in your own words, explaining how your tinnitus symptoms (such as ringing in the ears) has impacted your life. Ensure you speak to the loud noises during military service or secondary claim you will be trying to associate the service connection to, such as:
- Secondary to head injury (Traumatic Brain Injury)
- Secondary to neck trauma
- Secondary to sleep apnea
- These are just a few of the conditions that can cause tinnitus.
Additionally, be sure to detail any difficulties you have with work, relationships, or daily activities.
Second, provide the VA a buddy statement from service members you served with, or family members. This is a letter from someone who knows you well and can attest to the effects of your tinnitus on your daily life. Additionally, make sure to mention when the tinnitus started. Ideally, this should be someone who served with you during your time in the military. This veteran may have experienced the event with you. Do not minimize the power of lay evidence when it comes to your tinnitus claim.
- Fix your Tinnitus Claim and receive a tinnitus rating with a simple lay statement outlining the requirements & explaining how your condition was caused in service!
- Don’t give up – Make sure that you are writing your VA claim for the VA, not necessarily what you believe.
- Tinnitus claims can lead to many other secondary conditions, it is a good foundational service connection, so it is important!
Third, it is not a requirement to have an official diagnosis, or submit the claim with medical evidence. however, if you wear hearing aides with tinnitus management, you should mention these in order to attempt to prove your tinnitus disability and tinnitus symptoms.
Finally, be sure to explain the in-service event that you believe caused your tinnitus. The VA is more likely to approve claims where there is a clear connection between the condition and military service. By following these tips, you will give yourself the best chance possible of having your claim approved.
The Appeals Process For Denied VA Tinnitus Claims
The VA appeals process can be long and confusing, but it is important to know that you have options if your claim is denied.
The first step is to file a Supplemental Claim, which is used to add new evidence, such as a lay statement outlining how the tinnitus claim started during active duty. If you show tinnitus in your service records, and you have not submitted them with your VA tinnitus claims in the past, you should submit them along with any relevant medical records.
If your Supplemental Claim is denied, you can then file a Higher Level Review Claim. The Higher Level Review will be reviewed by a more senior staff member but does not allow for new evidence. If you are still not satisfied with the decision you received, you can appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.
The Board of Veterans’ Appeals is the highest level of review within the VA, and they have the authority to overturn previous decisions. In addition, if you believe that your tinnitus was caused by a secondary condition, such as hearing loss or head trauma, you can file a claim for that condition as well. By understanding the appeals process, you can ensure that your claim will receive the full review it deserves.
Reach out to Blue Cord Patriots to Help Prove Service connection
Conclusion paragraph: Although the VA denies a large number of tinnitus claims, there are ways to increase your chances of having your claim approved. The appeals process for denied VA claims can be difficult, but our team is here to help. If you need assistance filing or appealing your VA claim, please reach out to us for a free strategy call. We want to help you get the VA benefits you deserve.