VA Disability Benefits for Gulf War Syndrome

Disabled military veterans who served in the Gulf War since it began on August 2, 1990, qualify for a wide variety of VA benefits. Included in these benefits is a presumption of qualification for VA Disability Compensation if the veteran suffers from any of these presumptive conditions:

  • Medically unexplained illnesses or “Gulf War Syndrome,” encompassing what the VA terms “certain diagnosable chronic disability patterns”
  • Select diagnosable infectious diseases
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) based on the veteran having 90 days or more of continuous active military service in the Gulf War theater.

Gulf War Illnesses linked to Southwest Asia service

You may be able to receive disability benefits if you served in the Southwest Asia theater of military operations during the Gulf War period if you did not receive a dishonorable discharge and you meet the requirements listed below.

All of these must be true of your chronic illness or other condition. It:

  • Started while you were on active duty or before December 31, 2016, and
  • Caused you to be ill for at least 6 months, and
  • Qualified you for a disability rating of 10% or more, and
  • Was caused only by your service in the Southwest Asia theater of operations

And you must also have a diagnosis of one or more of these conditions:

  • Functional gastrointestinal disorders
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Other undiagnosed illnesses, including but not limited to cardiovascular disease, muscle and joint pain, and headaches

Presumed disabilities

You may also qualify for benefits for a presumed disability if (1) you have a presumed disability that appeared within 1 year of your date of separation, and (2)this presumed disability qualifies you for a disability rating of 10% or more.

The VA considers these illnesses to be presumed disabilities:

  • Burcellosis
  • Campylobacter jejuni
  • Coxiella burnetii (Q fever)
  • Nontyphoid salmonella
  • Shigella
  • West Nile virus

Gulf War Illnesses linked to Afghanistan service

You may be able to receive disability benefits if you (2) served in Afghanistan, (2) you did not receive a dishonorable discharge, and (3) you meet the requirements below.

All of these must be true. Your chronic illness or other condition:

  • Started while you were on active duty or after September 19, 2001, and
  • Caused you to be ill for at least 6 months, and
  • Qualified you for a disability rating of 10% or more, and
  • Was caused only by your service in Afghanistan

And you must also have a diagnosis of one or more of these conditions:

  • Brucellosis
  • Campylobacter jejuni
  • Coxiella burnetii (Q fever)
  • Malaria*
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis*
  • Nontyphoid Salmonella
  • Shigella
  • Visceral leishmaniasis*
  • West Nile Virus

*Indicates that there are exceptions to how we decide if these illnesses qualify you for benefits and these conditions may be covered even after a year has passed.

If you filed a claim related to the Gulf War and the VA denied it, contact us for help with the appeals process. We provide free consultations to veterans nationwide.

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