Maybe, but don’t hold your breath.
For years, the Department of Veterans Affairs has allowed easy service connection for a few disabling conditions relating to Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses: Chronic fatigue syndrome; Firbromyalgia; Functional gastrointestinal disorders; and other undiagnosed illnesses.
These conditions are supposed to be considered “presumptive.” Presumptive conditions are generally conditions that veterans are assumed to have received due to particular tours of duty or exposures.
Service Regions for Presumptive
These presumptions apply to veterans who served on active duty in the Southwest Asia theater since 1990. The countries and areas considered for this are:
- Saudi Arabia
- The neutral zone between Iraq and Saudi Arabia
- The United Arab Emirates
- Gulf of Aden
- Gulf of Oman
- Waters of the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, and the Red Sea
- The airspace above these locations
Currently, the deadline for when the condition must have “appeared” is on or before December 31, 2011. If you have any conditions that are “undiagnosed” and you did a tour in the Middle East, this could apply to you.
I strongly encourage all veterans suffering from undiagnosed conditions to talk with their Veteran Service Officer about filing a disability claim for these conditions. If you wait until after the deadline, the VA may balk at your claim. They could rebut your claim saying, “it did not rise to a compensable level of severity before the December 2011 deadline.” So, get your condition looked at ASAP. You at least need it to be serious enough to cause a 10% disability rating.
The VA is trying to extend the deadline until December 31, 2018. If this occurs, it will be great news for veterans and military members who develop symptoms after the 2011 cut-off.
Here is more information on Gulf War Service.
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Benjamin Krause is an award winning investigative journalist, attorney, and disabled veteran of the US Air Force, where he served in its Special Operations Command. He wrote his guide, the Voc Rehab Survival Guide for Veterans, after winning his long fight for benefits against VA to help other veterans do the same. Benjamin is a graduate of Northwestern University and the University of Minnesota Law School using VA Vocational Rehabilitation.