Looking for a great career? Or know another veteran, service member, or military spouse who is? Get started at Hirepurpose.

When you transition out the military, it’s important that you identify any injuries or illnesses acquired while in service and file a claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs. However, before you file, you need to make sure you have the right information in your disability claim. If you don’t, it could be rejected, and you’ll have to go through the appeals process, which turn into a long and tedious undertaking.

To make sure your VA disability claim is approved, there are three things you must include in your claim, according to accredited veterans benefits attorney, Chris Attig. An Army veteran himself, Attig is a lawyer out of Dallas, Texas, who has been representing veterans and their claims since 2007. His firm specializes in VA disability benefits and compensation for veterans and their survivors.

Attig says that for a service-connection VA claim, you must make sure you have three elements clearly represented:

  • An injury, illness, or event acquired while you were serving in the military.
  • A current diagnosis or disability, or recurring or persistent symptoms of a disability.
  • Competent and credible evidence that shows the injury is related to the current diagnosis.

Attig further says that before sending in your claims file, go through and tag each of the three elements with different-colored sticky notes and ask someone if they can easily see the relationship between the injury and the diagnosis or disability through the provided evidence.

If you don’t have a claims file, there are multiple resources and veterans service organizations that can help you start a claim for free.

Watch Chris Attig’s video below explaining how to make sure the VA is satisfied with your disability claim evidence.