What illnesses do to your VA benefits cover

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What illnesses do to your VA benefits cover

by: Kim Suchek | .
Stripes Guam | .
published: October 15, 2012

Hello Military Community,

One of the many battles military families have dealt with through history is U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and the struggles to receive their benefits. The struggle with paperwork and wondering if, “this medical condition,” is covered? While in a meeting with Jason Allen, the Senior Deputy Director for Military Veteran Affairs for the State of Michigan, he gave me the current up-to-date list for military veterans and asked me to post it on my website and distribute it to military families. I would like to thank Mr. Allen for his hard work and continue support of military families. This was the list I was given:

ALL VETERANS: Vets who develop Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, at any time after separation from the service may be eligible for compensation for that disability.

PRISONERS OF WAR: For former POWs who were imprisoned for ANY length of time, the following disabilities are presumed to be service-connected: Psychosis, any of the anxiety states, dysthymic disorder, organic residuals of frostbite, post-traumatic osteoarthritis, atherosclerotic heart disease or hypertensive vascular disease and their complications. Stroke and its complications, residuals of stroke and osteoporosis if the veteran has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

For former POWs who were imprisoned for at least 30 days, the following conditions are also presumed to be service-connected: Avitaminosis, beriberi, chronic dysentery, helminthiasis, malnutrition (including opticatrophy associated with malnutrition), pellagra and other nutritional deficiencies, irritable bowel syndrome, peptic ulcer disease and peripheral neuropathy, except where related to infectious causes, cirrhosis of the liver, osteoporosis.

VETERANS WHO SERVED IN THE REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM: between Jan. 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975 are presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange and other herbicides used in support of military operations.

Fourteen illnesses are presumed to be service-connected for such veterans: AL amyloidosis, chloracne or other acneform disease similar to chloracne, porphyria cutanea tarda, soft-tissue sarcoma (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma or mesothelioma), Hodgkin’s disease, multiple myeloma, respiratory cancers (lung, bronchus, larynx, trachea), non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, prostate cancer, acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy, diabetes mellitus (Type 2), all chronic B-cell leukemias (including, but NOT limited to, hairy-cell leukemia and chronic lymphocytic leukemia), Parkinson’s disease, and ischemic heart disease.

VETERANS EXPOSED TO RADIATION: For veterans who participated in “radiation risk activities” the following conditions are presumed to be service-connected: ALL forms of leukemia (except for chronic lymphocytic leukemia); cancer of the thyroid, breast, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, pancreas, bile ducts, gall bladder, salivary gland, urinary tract (renal pelvis, ureter, urinary bladder and urethra), brain, bone, lung, colon, and ovary; bronchiolo-alveolar carcinoma; multiple myeloma; lymphomas (other than Hodgkin’s disease); and primary liver cancer (except if cirrhosis or hepatitis B is indicated).

GULF WAR VETERANS: With chronic disabilities may receive disability compensation for chronic disabilities resulting from undiagnosed illness or medically unexplained chronic multi-symptom illnesses defined by a cluster of sign or symptoms. A disability is considered chronic if it has existed for at least six months.

The undiagnosed illnesses must have appeared either during active service in the Southwest Asia Theater of Operations during the Gulf War period of Aug. 2, 1990 to July 31, 1991 or to a degree of at least 10 percent at any time since then through Dec. 31, 2011. This theater of operations includes Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the neutral zone between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, the Gulf of Aden, the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, the Red Sea and the airspace above these locations.

Examples of symptoms of an undiagnosed illness and medically unexplained chronic multi-symptom illness defined by a cluster of signs and symptoms include: Chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, fatigue, signs of symptoms involving the skin, skin disorders, headache, muscle pain, joint pain, neurological signs of symptoms, neuropsychological signs or symptoms, signs or symptoms involving the respiratory system (upper or lower), sleep disturbances, gastrointestinal signs or symptoms, cardiovascular signs or symptoms, abnormal weight loss and menstrual disorders.

GULF WAR AND AFGHANISTAN VETERANS: may receive disability compensation for the following infectious diseases: Brucellosis, Campylobacter jejuni, Coxiella burnetti (Q fever), Malaria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Nontyphoid Samonella, Shigells, Visceral leishmaniasis, and West Nile virus. Qualifying periods of service for these infectious diseases include active duty military, naval, or air service in the above stated Southwest Asia Theater of operations during the Gulf War period of Aug. 2, 1990 to July 30, 1991 or active military, naval, or air service on or after Sept. 19, 2001 in Afghanistan.

Anyone who has these symptoms, please contact your local VA Office for immediate assistance. Please let me know if you have any questions.  Best wishes from my family to yours.

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