Are Veterans with Gulf War Syndrome Eligible for VA Disability?

Gulf War Veteran Saluting in Front of American Flag

Are you a veteran of Operation Desert Shield? Did you serve in Operation Desert Storm? More than 700,000 veterans have served in the Gulf War and like many veterans before and after, many have come home with injuries, illnesses and medical conditions – both visible and invisible. Gulf War Syndrome is a medically unexplained illness that is suffered by Gulf War veterans and many veterans of that action want to know – are veterans with Gulf War Syndrome eligible for VA disability? We can help answer your veterans benefits questions here at VABenefits Attorneys.

Veterans who served in the Gulf War faced much more than just the enemy. Environmental hazards that included more than 750 oil well fires created a toxic environment that has had an impact on the health of our U.S. Military veterans. Gulf War Syndrome – or Gulf War Illness – is a medical condition with chronic symptoms that include fatigue, headaches, memory loss, cognitive difficulties, joint and muscle pain, poor sleep patterns and respiratory issues. Gulf War Syndrome is considered a presumptive condition for toxic exposure. 

Is Gulf War Syndrome Covered By the PACT Act?

The PACT Act – The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act – is an important piece of veteran health legislation that is in place to help Gulf War veterans and many more. The PACT Act extends disability benefits for veterans who were faced with toxic exposure in service to the United States that may have caused illnesses or medical conditions that may not be able to be linked to a single toxic exposure and are known as presumptive conditions. 

Combat Jets in the Gulf War with Oil Fires in the Background

Gulf War Syndrome is an unexplained illness that falls into that presumptive condition category of the PACT Act and makes veterans eligible for disability benefits. Additional presumptive conditions that will impact Gulf War veterans include select infectious diseases under the PACT Act and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) for veterans who served more than 90 days of active service. Veterans who served on or after August 2, 1990 in Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, United Arab Emirates or Qatar may be eligible for VA disability benefits due to burn pit exposure.

PACT Act Gulf War and Post-9/11 Veteran Presumptive Conditions

The PACT Act covers a wide range of presumptive illnesses and medical conditions that veterans may suffer from due to toxic exposures in select areas of operations. Gulf War Syndrome is a presumptive condition that is included in the PACT Act. Here is a look at presumptive conditions highlighted by the PACT Act.

PACT Act Presumptive Cancers

  • Brain Cancer
  • Glioblastoma
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Head Cancer – Any Type
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Gastrointestinal Cancer – Any Type
  • Lymphoma – Any Type
  • Melanoma
  • Neck Cancer – Any Type
  • Reproductive Cancer – Any Type
  • Respiratory Cancer – Any Type

PACT Act Presumptive Illnesses

  • Asthma – Diagnosed After Service
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease – COPD
  • Chronic Sinusitis
  • Chronic Bronchitis
  • Chronic Rhinitis
  • Chronic Bronchiolitis
  • Obliterative Bronchiolitis
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Emphysema
  • Granulomatous Disease
  • Interstitial Lung Disease
  • Pleuritis

How Do I Get a Toxic Exposure Screening?

Do you have a presumptive condition like Gulf War Syndrome? Are you a Gulf War veteran who has served in a time or place when you may have suffered a toxic exposure? You may be eligible for disability benefits via the PACT Act – but you may need a toxic exposure screening at your local Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facility.

Veterans who enroll in VA health care will receive an initial toxic exposure screening and must have a follow-up screening every five years. A key component of the toxic exposure screening will ask you if you believe you were exposed to – open burn pits, airborne hazards, Agent Orange, radiation, Gulf War-related toxic exposures, contaminated water at Camp Lejeune and more – to establish the potential for a presumptive condition. 

READ MORE: What Are the New Veterans Benefits and Programs in 2024?

Are you a Gulf War veteran who suffers from chronic headaches or fatigue? They may be symptoms of Gulf War Syndrome and many veterans want to know – are veterans with Gulf War Syndrome eligible for VA disability? We can help answer your questions and help you apply for benefits at VABenefits Attorneys. Contact VABenefits Attorneys today for a FREE legal consultation!

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