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Veterans with Gulf War Illnesses & the Disability Application Process

Veterans with Gulf War Illnesses & the Disability Application Process

Veterans of the Gulf War were left with health issues that still affect them today. In fact, some of their symptoms and illnesses have been unique to that war, and continue to persist decades later.

The list of symptoms is long, with the many features often referred to by medical professionals and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as clusters. These health conditions have also been noted in veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, with ongoing issues such as:

  • Respiratory problems
  • Neurological disorders
  • Cardiovascular symptoms
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Sleeplessness
  • Memory loss

Medically Unexplained Illnesses of Gulf War Veterans

These clusters are generally referred to by the VA as ‘chronic multi-symptom illnesses’ and ‘undiagnosed illnesses.’ They are so accepted and so widespread among veterans that these conditions are considered presumptive, which means that those who served in the Gulf War do not have to prove a connection between the health issues and their military service to be eligible for disability compensation from the VA. 

The presumptive conditions, encompassing all the above symptoms, are described in greater detail as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, gastrointestinal disorders, other issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, unexplained weight loss, menstrual disorders, and more. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is also considered to be related to this military service, although as the VA states, it is not considered to be connected to a specific exposure.

If you have been suffering from health conditions related to the Gulf War, you can apply for monthly, tax free benefits. You can choose to do so online with eBenefits, through the mail, with a representative, or at your regional VA office. Benefits are measured in accordance with the severity of the disability, and often compensation is greater if you have dependents. You also can register for the Gulf War Registry health exam, which is separate from the disability application process. This exam allows medical professionals to explore the veteran’s medical history, perform lab tests, and ultimately the veterans receive free information about their overall health as well as long-term medical issues. Military records are not necessary. This registry also works to help the VA collect further information regarding veterans and health issues like those connected to the Gulf War. If necessary for disability compensation, a separate exam is requested for the veteran during that process.

If you need help during the claims process or are denied for disability benefits through the VA and you want to appeal, consult with an experienced veterans lawyer. Our firm has helped many Gulf War veterans get the benefits they are entitled. We understand the specific health issues that veterans of the Gulf War often have. Call our office in Providence at 401-331-6300 for your no-cost consultation.

Category: Veterans Law

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