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I am a twenty year veteran of the U.S. Navy. I retired in August 1979. While in the Navy I twisted my right knee and after several years had the cartilage removed in Navy hospital Millington, TN. After being retired for several years I had my right knee replaced due to severe pain. Am I eligible for anything [compensation] from the VA?

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A1:  It is certainly possible to achieve a favorable outcome from the VA for Compensation & Pension, but you need to connect the dots to demonstrate that it is service-related. There are service organizations (no cost to you) such as DAV, or Texas Vets (if you live in TX) that can assist. Often times it is just as important how you say things as it is what you say and these (and possibly other) service organizations have and continue to get some great outcomes. There are also attorneys that handle these claims but they can be expensive. You can also file a claim on your own or through the mail. I retired from the VA less than a year ago and did my own claim over a decade ago with a good outcome. I do have some background in medical terminology, anatomy and physiology and am somewhat familiar  with the language which helped. Without a similar background, I would strongly recommend seeking assistance from any of the veterans service groups. Also you may want to call a veterans group such as Veterans of Foreign Wars or Google Veterans Service Organizations to find a local chapter. They may be able to give you some insight into which group or even what person within a group has a good track record with cases such as yours. Be patient, be persistent and get started!! Once you file a claim, that starts the clock ticking. If it were to take a while to process and you are successful, your award begins the date your claim was received by the VA. At the risk of repeating myself, don't put it off! Also, DO NOT file a claim on your own, then have someone help you file another, then get impatient and hire an attorney. That won't help you get where you want to go, it will just muddy the water. Make some calls, find out who is free and gets good results, then FILE!!  If it were me and I was doing it all over again, I would do all my homework and either file or have an appointment with a veterans representative for assistance to file by the end of this week.
Best wishes for a good outcome!  (AF)  2/18/19

A2:  Yes, you are. Number one the injury took place while you were on active duty. Then after being retired, your right knee was replaced due to severe pain. Some type of record or documentation should exist for the time that you were in the Navy hospital in Millington, TN. Then after you retired your right knee was replaced and you should also have documentation of that. So there is your NEXXUS or "Service Connection" to the present. Remember, in order to have a claim, you must have suffered one or more of three things: Disease, Injury or an Event and yours is the Injury. See a competent Service Officer or go to your VA Regional Office and apply ASAP.  Good Luck, My Brother!  Be Patient BUT Persistent.  (RA)  2/18/19

A3:  Do you have a copy of your navy medical record or at least the part about your knee? You may want to see your local veteran service officer to help you get your records and submit a claim. Hope this helps you shipmate. CPO, USN, Ret.  (RC)  2/18/19

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