Since 1990, Gulf War veterans have demonstrated a higher-than-average rate of developing certain symptoms not explained by any specific medical condition. These symptoms include sustained and debilitating fatigue, headaches and migraines, joint pain and discomfort, difficulty sleeping, problems with memory and cognition, and digestive ailments. If you are a Gulf War veteran and later experienced any of the above symptoms, you might be eligible to receive veterans (VA) disability compensation for a medically unexplained chronic multi-symptom illness (MUCMI) or an undiagnosed illness, commonly referred to as “Gulf War Syndrome.”
Applying for and receiving VA disability is not a straightforward process. When your condition is something hard to define, as is the case with many symptoms of “Gulf War Syndrome,” it is even more vital to document everything thoroughly so you do not receive a denial on a technicality. Our attorneys have helped many veterans win benefits, and we understand the ins and outs of the process. We can put our knowledge to work for you. Call our office today for a free consultation: 401-331-6300.
Getting VA Disability Benefits for Gulf War Syndrome
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) requires us to do two things to prove you are eligible for disability benefits for “Gulf War Syndrome.” First, we must provide a medical diagnosis of a medically unexplained chronic multi-symptom illness (MUCMI) or of an “undiagnosed condition,” meaning that medical professionals are unable to diagnose you with a certain condition. We must also establish from your service records that you are a Gulf War veteran.
We must ensure that you have a qualifying medical diagnosis to receive VA disability benefits. For “Gulf War Syndrome,” the VA will presume service connection for several medical diagnoses. These conditions are as follows:
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS): This condition involves extreme fatigue that persists for six months or longer, has no apparent cause, and does not get better with sleep or rest.
Fibromyalgia: Similar to CFS, fibromyalgia presents symptoms that have no known underlying cause. These symptoms include muscle pain, headaches, fatigue, memory problems, and insomnia.
Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: This includes any ailment that affects the gastrointestinal tract, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), functional dyspepsia, and abdominal pain.
Undiagnosed/Other: This category covers symptoms not associated with a diagnosed condition but that the VA has identified as prevalent in Gulf War veterans. These symptoms include:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Unexplained fatigue
- Cardiovascular ailments
- Muscle or joint pain
- Menstrual disorders
- Psychological or neurological problems
- Respiratory disturbances
- Difficulty sleeping
- Skin conditions
Gulf War Service
In order to be eligible for compensation for a Gulf War-related illness, you must establish that you have Gulf War service in the Southwest Asia theater of military operations on or after August 2, 1990:
- Saudi Arabia
- The neutral zone between Iraq and Saudi Arabia
- The United Arab Emirates
- The Gulf of Aden
- The Gulf of Oman
- The Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, or the Red Sea
If you did not serve in one of these areas, we would need to identify another event during your service that we can connect to your medical condition. We do this by evaluating your service record and consulting with doctors and military experts.
VA Disability Benefits Amounts for Gulf War Syndrome
The VA determines disability ratings depending on the severity of your symptoms and how those symptoms affect your ability to function in daily life.
The VA uses a rating system to determine the amount of your benefit. All service-connected disabilities receive a rating, which are then combined into the Veteran’s total combined rating. A total combined rating ranges between 0 and 100 percent, in increments of 10 percent. However, to be eligible for benefits for “Gulf War Syndrome,” you must receive a 10 percent disability rating or higher.
A rating of 30 percent or higher qualifies you for additional benefits for any dependents living in your home (e.g., spouse, children, dependent parents).
Why You Should Hire a Lawyer to Fight for VA Disability for Gulf War Syndrome
Gulf War-related claims are notoriously complex for their myriad nuances. Despite the existence of the Gulf War-related illness governing regulations being in place for about 20 years, the VA has yet to streamline a process to correctly apply these rules to Veterans’ claims. Thus, the VA does not have a perfect, cut-and-dry process for granting and denying benefits. There is a lot of subjectivity involved, and if you lack experience in the process, you risk a denial despite having a valid, service-related condition.
The attorneys at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD have dedicated their careers to VA disability cases, and through helping veterans like yourself win the benefits they deserve, have become intimately familiar with the application and appeals process. We do all the hard work for you so you can focus on your health and your family.
Let our VA disability claims advocates put their experience and knowledge to work for you. We offer free consultations to determine if we are able to assist you. Call today: 401-331-6300.