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How VA Identifies Claims
An original claim is the first claim you file for compensation from VA. This can be filed by a Servicemember, Veteran or survivors of deceased Veterans.
A reopened claim is a claim filed for a benefit that could not be granted and the decision has become final, meaning that it is over one year old and has not been appealed. VA cannot reopen these claims unless new and material evidence is received. New evidence is evidence that the VA has never before considered in connection with the specific benefit claimed. Material evidence is evidence that is relevant to and has a direct bearing on the issue at hand.
A new claim is a claim for a benefit that may or may not have been filed before. Generally, the decision made on the claim is based entirely on new evidence. These may include claims for:
- An increased disability evaluation
- Special monthly compensation
- Individual unemployability
A new claim differs from a reopened claim in that a decision on the claim is totally independent of any evidence submitted in connection with an earlier claim.
These are claims for disabilities that developed as a result of or were worsened by another service-connected condition. In other words, it is recognized that a service-connected disability may cause a second disability. This second disability may not otherwise be considered service-connected.