What does "service connected" mean?

Question:

Jim, You recently answered a veteran, “If [you] have a diagnosis of a service connected cancer, [you] are to remain rated at 100% until the cancer is treated and gone.”

Here’s my question: In a case where the cancer (soft tissue sarcoma), is not service connected, would it be considered service connected because it took my VA providers to “diagnose” it, and became “highly infiltrative”? (Actually, my providers never diagnosed it. My lesion was revealed to be soft tissue sarcoma only because VA resected (not biopsied) it, and VA Pathology determined the resected tissue was soft tissue sarcoma.

Incidentally, when VA Pathology determined the mass was soft tissue sarcoma, the Tumor Board referred me to civilian care for corrective surgery & radiation therapy, and told me I had to pay for everything myself. Was that kosher? Shouldn’t VA have referred me to civilian care under “fee basis, I had to mesh my treatment with my work schedule, couldn’t keep it up, and ended up bankrupt & homeless.   Diagnostic Code 5329 speaks to the seriousness of soft tissue sarcoma, and mandates temporary total disability. Thank you

Jim's Reply:

Service connection implies that a condition was caused, contributed to or aggravated by military service. If a condition isn't service connected and rated by VA, VA won't treat the veteran for free unless the veteran is in a Priority category that allows that.

It sounds as if your condition is not service connected and as such VA has no obligation to care for you. You're stuck if you don't have health insurance.

 


Source URL: https://statesidelegal.org/what-does-service-connected-mean