Many Gulf War Veterans reported numerous chronic symptoms, from joint pain to insomnia and cognitive issues, after returning from active service. These symptoms are popularly referred to as Gulf War Syndrome (GWS) though the VA regards them as chronic multi-symptom illnesses because they vary from one veteran to another. Veterans are eligible for Gulf War Sydrome disability benefits to cater for damages related to the symptoms and illnesses. Read on to learn how you can prove GWS to receive benefits.
Have a Presumptive Condition
Typically, the VA requires veterans to prove that their injuries or conditions emanate from military service. Those with pre-existing conditions must show that active duty aggravated them. Failure to do this increases the likelihood of a denied claim.
Fortunately, the VA considers some conditions presumptive, meaning military service caused them. Gulf War veterans with presumptive conditions can submit claims and get benefits without much hassle. However, you must show meet the criteria below.
- Worked in the gulf locations like Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Israel, Oman, Qatar, Syria, and Bahrain
- You were diagnosed with the condition while in service or after separate
- Ailing for at least six months
The main gulf war presumptive conditions include fibromyalgia, characterized by muscle pain, headache, insomnia, and memory issues, gastrointestinal disorders, and chronic fatigue syndrome, not associated with other conditions. Also, undiagnosed illnesses with symptoms like menstrual disorders, unexplained weight loss, skin conditions, sleep disturbances, and muscle pain qualify as presumptive conditions.
VA recognizes some infectious diseases diagnosed within a year of separation as presumptive. They include malaria, brucellosis, Coxiella burnetii, and shigella. In addition, they’re toxic exposure to presumptive conditions like brain, kidney, pancreatic, head, respiratory, and reproductive cancers, asthma, chronic bronchitis, sinusitis, rhinitis, sarcoidosis, emphysema, and pleuritic.
Have a Service-related Condition
You may wonder, what happens if your symptoms or disability do not qualify as presumptive? As mentioned above, Gulf War syndrome symptoms are not uniform and vary widely. Therefore, you may get other illnesses and symptoms after serving in the Gulf War.
While presumptive conditions allow you to skip the ‘nexus’ requirement, other conditions require solid proof of a military connection. Documents to support your claim may include your DD214, service treatment records, and other medical documents related to your condition.
Once you file a claim, you must undergo a VA-administered compensation and pension exam (C&P). A VA-approved medical practitioner examines your military and medical records and conducts tests to establish your disability’s severity and impact on daily life. They give a rating for the disability, typically 0-100%, affecting your benefits. People with multiple disabilities receive higher ratings than those with one or two conditions.
You will only qualify for Gulf War syndrome compensation if your rating is above 10%. Nonetheless, most veterans receive substantial benefits due to the severity of most of the Gulf War symptoms and illnesses and their deliberating effects on daily life.
Besides disability benefits, Gulf War veterans, like other veterans, qualify for health care, pension, education, home loans, and insurance benefits. Notably, you can leverage the Gulf War Registry Health Exam, helping VA understand and anticipate health conditions facing Gulf veterans.
Exposure to toxic agents, combat stressors, and environmental hazards may have contributed to Gulf War syndrome, affecting the health of Gulf veterans tremendously. If you have unexplained health problems attributed to the Gulf War participation, you have a legal right to file a claim and attain benefits. A veteran disability lawyer helps you file your claim, gather the required evidence, and appeal a denied claim. They handle the tasking processes, procedures, and paperwork, so you focus on recovery.