A Nexus letter is a document written by a licensed healthcare provider containing a medical opinion. It includes your diagnosis and the connection between your injuries or disability and your military service.
Getting a Nexus letter from a provider who understands U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) laws is essential. This precaution will ensure the document contains all the needed information and a proper medical conclusion.
When Do You Need a Nexus Letter?
VA provides compensation for veterans under certain circumstances. For example, if you served when the military used Agent Orange and have a presumptive condition, VA will issue a disability rating.
However, this is not the case for secondary health conditions. These are issues triggered or aggravated by military service, like developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after witnessing traumatizing events.
When filing a disability claim for a secondary condition, you need a Nexus letter to prove your situation resulted from active military service. This document will provide a medical diagnosis and explanation to convince VA and boost your odds of qualifying for compensation.
What Should a Nexus Letter Contain?
The exact information written in a Nexus letter will depend on your health issue. However, this document must include four essential elements:
The first one is the credentials of the physician who examined your health, including their name, specialty, practice name, and facility’s address.
The second element your Nexus letter should have is a reference. This shows that the doctor writing the document reviewed your medical records. It also indicates they went through the treatment documents from VA relating to your condition.
Another aspect a Nexus letter must contain is a medical opinion. This is the most critical part, since it contains details about how certain events during active service led to your condition. The section also explains your current health issue, including the most notable effects or symptoms.
The final crucial element is a medical rationale. This includes references to medical studies showing why the doctor concluded your health issue relates to military service.
How to Ensure Your Nexus Letter Is Successful
While medical professionals typically write Nexus letters, there are certain precautions you can take to ensure your letter is satisfactory. First, provide the doctor with all your medical records, including those from VA. These will help them analyze your condition based on when you suffered injuries and experienced symptoms.
If you do not have medical records from VA, it is advisable to contact the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) and request a file containing all your personal information from the time you entered active service.
Other tips to ensure you present an excellent Nexus letter are:
- Request your letter from the physician you met with most recently
- Request the letter from a doctor with some VA experience or knowledge
- Ensure it is brief but contains all vital details
- Confirm that it has convincing and not doubtful language
Most primary care providers can write a Nexus letter for claiming VA benefits. However, it is best to seek these services from a specialist in certain circumstances. For example, if you are pursuing compensation for a mental health issue, get the document from a psychiatrist or therapist. On the other hand, consult a neurologist if you need it for a brain injury or nerve damage.
How Many Nexus Letters Do You Need?
The number of Nexus letters you need to file a VA claim will depend on your health condition. If you are pursuing compensation for two unrelated issues, you need a separate letter for each. On the other hand, if you only have one claim, you can use a single Nexus letter.
Some health conditions can worsen after you receive a VA disability rating. Hence, you might need to file another claim and undergo more medical tests to seek additional compensation.
When filing a decision review, you cannot rely on the Nexus letter you presented previously. Instead, you must seek a new one indicating your current health status. This measure will ensure you provide accurate information that matches your updated medical records.
Do VA Doctors Write Nexus Letters?
No. A VA doctor cannot write a Nexus letter to support your disability claim. Because they are VA employees, they cannot provide an unbiased medical opinion. Consult your private medical provider or any non-VA doctor when you need this letter.
Get More Details About Disability Law Today
While a Nexus letter is vital, it is not the only document you need when seeking compensation from VA. A disability lawyer can help you determine what you need for your case.
If you disagree with the results of your initial claim, your attorney can request a decision review process to seek a different disability rating. They can also further explain what a Nexus letter is and guide you on seeking one from a licensed healthcare provider. Call to learn more about how a disability lawyer can help you.