Gulf War Syndrome and Veterans Disability Benefits

Many veterans of the Gulf War have of a collection of chronic medical symptoms that may include fatigue, headaches, joint pain, insomnia, dizziness, breathing problems and memory problems. “Gulf War Syndrome” is the term commonly used to describe these symptoms. The VA does not use the term, instead referring to the condition as “chronic multisymptom illness” and “undiagnosed illnesses.”

Normally, veterans who seek VA disability compensation – a monthly tax-free payment – must prove that they are suffering from a disability and provide evidence that the disability is connected to their military service.

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Veterans suffering from Gulf War Syndrome, however, may be able to receive disability compensation without proving a connection between their military service and illness. A presumption of service connection applies only to veterans who suffered specific illnesses while serving in certain military operations.

If you’re having trouble determining your eligibility for VA benefits, gathering the appropriate evidence or experiencing other problems with your veterans disability benefits claim, the lawyers at Joye Law Firm in South Carolina can help.

Our attorneys have more than 150 combined years of litigation experience and our team includes VA-authorized disability representative Patrick Jennings. Learn all the ways we can help you receive the benefits you deserve.

Call Joye Law Firm now or send us an online message.

VA Benefits for Illnesses Related to Gulf War Service

Veterans who are diagnosed with one of the following illnesses – which the VA calls “presumptive” illnesses because they are presumed to be caused by Gulf War service – do not need to prove a connection between the illness and their military service:

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gastrointestinal disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), functional dyspepsia and functional abdominal pain syndrome
  • Undiagnosed illnesses with symptoms that include abnormal weight loss, fatigue, cardiovascular disease, muscle and joint pain, neurological and psychological problems, skin conditions and others.

These symptoms must persist for six months or more and have appeared during active duty in the Southwest Asia theater of U.S. military operations, or by Dec. 31, 2016, and be at least 10 percent disabling. The VA assigns a disability rating from 10-100 percent to these veterans. A higher disability rating results in a higher compensation rate.

The VA defines Gulf War service as active military duty in:

  • Gulf War I (Aug. 2, 1990 – March 3, 1991), including Operations
  • Desert Storm and Desert Shield
  • Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003-2010)
  • Operation New Dawn (2010-2011)

The following areas are considered to be part of the Southwest Asia Theater: Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, The United Arab Emirates, Oman, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, the waters of the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, the Red Sea and the airspace above these locations.

Other Gulf War Exposures

Gulf War I veterans may have developed an illness from a variety of environmental and chemical hazards. Not all Gulf War-related illnesses are presumptive, however, so while you may qualify for veterans’ benefits due to any number of Gulf War exposures, you may be required to demonstrate a connection between your illness and your military service.

The VA acknowledges the following types of Gulf War exposures:

  • Vaccinations
  • Oil or gas well fires
  • Chemical and biological weapons
  • Depleted uranium
  • Pyridostigmine bromide (a pre-treatment for the nerve agent soman)
  • Pesticides
  • Sand, dust and particulates
  • Shrapnel and other toxic embedded fragments
  • Chemical agent resistance coating (CARC) paint
  • Noise from guns, equipment and machinery

Gulf War Registry Health Exam

In addition to disability compensation, veterans with a service-connected disability or illness may be eligible for health care, vocational rehabilitation and many other federal benefits.

A benefit unique to Gulf War Veterans is the Gulf War Registry Health Exam. Free to eligible veterans, this exam is intended to help the VA understand the health problems faced by Gulf War veterans and to help veterans deal with the health problems their military service may have caused.

Discuss Your Case with a Veterans’ Disability Benefits Lawyer in South Carolina

Confused about your eligibility for VA benefits? Not sure what documentation you need? Was your claim denied? These and other complications are commonly experienced by veterans while navigating the VA benefits system.

For assistance with your claim, count on the veterans’ disability benefits attorneys at Joye Law Firm. Call Joye Law Firm now or use our online form to schedule a free case review.

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