Deadline Extended for “Gulf War Syndrome” Claims

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has now extended the deadline for Gulf War Veterans who’d like to claim presumptive disability for certain illnesses that are directly related to their military service.

These illnesses, which are often referred to as “Gulf War Syndrome”, are looked at as presumptive by the VA – which means that Veterans who’d like to claim a disability in relation are not required to prove they were caused by their service itself.

According to recent studies, Gulf War Syndrome sadly affects over 200,000 Veterans out of the 650,000 who served in both Desert Shield and Desert Storm – that’s just under 33.3% of the people who served.

 

Gulf War, Gulf War Syndrome

Over 33% of those who served in Desert Shield and Desert Storm have contracted Gulf War Syndrome.

How Do I Qualify? What Do I Do?

For someone to qualify, a covered illness must have caused sickness and/or symptoms for at least six months, and:

  • Took place during service in the Southwest Asia theater of military operations between August 2nd, 1990 and the present day. This is also inclusive of Operation Iraqi Freedom (’03-10) and Operation New Dawn (10-11).
  • Been previously diagnosed as at least 10% disabling by the VA.

Initially, the VA was set to stop awarding benefits to new Gulf War Veterans with related disabilities/disability diagnosis given after December 31st, 2021, however, that deadline has now been extended to December, 2026.

As per the VA, Gulf War Syndrome can become present in many different ways. These are the illnesses that the VA associates with Gulf War service:

  • Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A condition of long-term and severe fatigue that is not directly caused by or linked to any other specific conditions.
  • Fibromyalgia: A condition characterized by widespread muscle pain. Possible other symptoms may include, but are not limited to the following: insomnia, morning stiffness, headache, and/or memory problems.
  • Functional Gastroinestinal Disorders: A group of conditions that are marked by chronic or consistent symptoms that can be related to any part of the gastrointestinal tract. Examples of this may include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), functional dyspepsia, functional abdominal pain syndrome, and more.
  • Undiagnosed Illness: Symptoms here may include but are not limited to the following: abnormal weight loss, fatigue, cardiovascular disease, muscle and joint pain, headache, menstrual disorders, neurological and psychological problems, skin conditions, respiratory disorders and sleep distrubances.

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