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Non-Service Connected disability aggravated by Service connected disability
If you suffer from a non –service condition for example a stroke that is worsened by your service condition for example PTSD can you get increased benefits for the stroke as aggravation of your service connected disability?
The relevant regulation 38 C.F.R. § 3.310 was amended effective October 10, 2006. The new regulation provide that VA will not concede that a nonservice-connected disease or injury was aggravated by a service-connected disease or injury unless the baseline level of severity of the nonservice-connected disease or injury is established by medical evidence created before the onset of aggravation or by the earliest medical evidence created at any time between the onset of aggravation and the receipt of medical evidence establishing the current level of severity of the nonservice-connected disease or injury. The rating activity will determine the baseline and current levels of severity under the Schedule for Rating Disabilities and determine the extent of aggravation by deducting the baseline level of severity, as well as any increase in severity due to the natural progress of the disease, from the current level. 38 C.F.R. § 3.310(b) (2012).
In order to establish entitlement to service connection on this secondary basis, there must be (1) evidence of a current disability; (2) evidence of a service-connected disability; and (3) evidence establishing a nexus (i.e., link) between the service-connected disability and the current disability. See Wallin v. West, 11 Vet. App. 509, 512 (1998).
When there is an approximate balance of positive and negative evidence regarding any issue material to the determination of a matter, the Secretary shall give the benefit of the doubt to the claimant. 38 U.S.C.A. § 5107; 38 C.F.R. § 3.102; see also Gilbert v. Derwinski, 1 Vet.App. 49, 53 (1990).
In Mittleider v. West, 11 Vet. App. 181, 182 (1998), the
Court quoted a passage from the Federal Register indicating
that when it is not possible to separate the effects of a
service-connected condition from non-service-connected
conditions, “VA regulations at 38 C.F.R. § 3.102 . . .
clearly dictate that such signs and symptoms be attributed to
the service-connected condition.”