In general, the VA won’t provide disability benefits to veterans who try to service-connect their alcoholism. Because a veteran may abuse alcohol for any number of reasons, including as a way to de-stress, as a way to be social, or out of habit, an attempt to connect alcoholism to time spent in the military is usually unsuccessful.

Alcohol itself does not get compensated even if it is secondary to a service-connected disability, but it can be a link to a secondary disability. Let me offer you an example. A veteran gets service-connected for PTSD. Then starts drinking to deal with stress from the PTSD and develops diabetes as a result of the drinking. The veteran in our example could get service connection for diabetes secondary to PTSD with alcohol abuse.

Because it can be difficult to obtain VA disability benefits or an increased disability rating when alcoholism is involved, it’s beneficial to provide an independent medical assessment. If a doctor offers a medical opinion that shows a link between a service-connected disability and alcoholism which leads to a secondary disability, the VA is more likely to issue a favorable ruling.

Submitting a successful VA disability claim under any circumstances isn’t easy. But when alcohol abuse is involved, the process gets even harder. At Cuddigan Law, we understand that veterans who suffer painful physical injuries during their service can face many types of other medical conditions, including alcohol use disorder. Our attorneys have supported veterans for years, and we can help you if you are seeking VA disability benefits. To maximize your chances of success, call or email our firm for a free evaluation of your situation.



Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska