Typically, claimants must show proof of relationship between service and the condition being claimed; however, the VA presumes that specific disabilities diagnosed in certain veterans were caused by their military service because of unique circumstances in that particular geographic location.
Traditionally, there are three categories in which veterans may qualify for a service-connected disability based on a condition to be presumed by military service. These groups are veterans who were diagnosed with a chronic disease such as arthritis, diabetes, or hypertension within one year of being released from active duty; veterans diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, at any time after discharge or release from qualifying active service in which they have continuous service of 90 days or more; and veterans who served in the conflicts/geographic regions associated with those diagnosed conditions identified below:
Imprisoned for any length of time, and disability at least 10 percent disabling:
Any of the anxiety states
Dysthymic disorder or depressive neurosis
Heart disease and complications
Stroke and complications
Osteoporosis, on or after October 10, 2008, when Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is diagnosed
Imprisoned for at least 30 days, and disability at least 10 percent disabling:
Malnutrition (including optic atrophy)
Pellagra and any other nutritional deficiency
Any other nutritional deficiency
Irritable bowel syndrome
Peptic ulcer disease
Peripheral neuropathy, except where directly related to infectious causes
Cirrhosis of the liver
Osteoporosis, on or after September 28, 2009
Served in the Republic of Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975; Blue Water Veterans; U.S. Navy and Coast Guard Ships in Vietnam; Korean Demilitarized Zone between April 1, 1968 and August 31, 1971; Thailand Military bases between February 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975; Herbicide tests and storage outside Vietnam; and Agent Orange residue on airplanes used in the Vietnam war:
Chloracne or other acne form disease similar to chloracne
Porphyria cutanea tarda
Soft-tissue sarcoma (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi's sarcoma or mesothelioma)
Respiratory cancers (lung, bronchus, larynx, trachea)
Acute and sub-acute peripheral neuropathy
Type 2 diabetes
Chronic B-cell leukemia
Ischemic heart disease
Participated in atmospheric nuclear testing; occupied or was a POW in Hiroshima or Nagasaki; service before February 1, 1992 at a diffusion plant in Paducah, KY, Portsmouth, OH, or Oak Ridge, TN; or service before January 1, 1974 at Amchitka Island, AK:
Leukemia (except for chronic lymphocytic leukemia)
Cancers of the bile ducts, bone, brain, breast, colon, esophagus, gall bladder, liver (primary site, but not if cirrhosis or hepatitis B is indicated), lung (including bronchiolo-alveolar cancer), pancreas, pharynx, ovary, salivary gland, small intestine, stomach, thyroid, urinary tract (kidney/renal, pelvis, urinary bladder, and urethra)
Lymphomas (other than Hodgkin's disease)
Served in the Southwest Asia Theater of Operations during the Gulf War with condition at least 10 percent disabling by December 31, 2016. Included are medically unexplained chronic multi-symptom illnesses defined by a cluster of signs or symptoms that have existed for six months or more, such as:
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Functional gastrointestinal disorders
Any diagnosed or undiagnosed illness that the Secretary of Veterans Affairs determines warrants a presumption of service connection
Signs or symptoms of an undiagnosed illness include: fatigue, skin symptoms, headaches, muscle pain, joint pain, neurological symptoms, respiratory symptoms, sleep disturbance, GI symptoms, cardiovascular symptoms, weight loss, and menstrual disorders.
The VA also has regulations concerning presumptive service connection for certain diseases among service in Southwest Asia beginning on or after the start of the first Gulf War on August 2, 1990, through the conflict in Iraq and on or after September 19, 2001, in Afghanistan.
The area defined in Persian Gulf Service encompass 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.
There are nine specific infectious diseases associated with military service during this period that are prevalent in Southwest Asia, have been diagnosed among U.S. troops serving there, and are known to cause long-term adverse health effects:
Coxiella burnetii (Q fever)
West Nile virus
Veterans who have been diagnosed with any of the above conditions or were exposed to any herbicides throughout their military service may contact the local County Veterans Service Office for claims filing assistance.
Contact the local County Veterans Service Office for assistance.
Please begin by entering your Zip Code and the maximum distance to search for providers.
Register with CalVet to get veteran benefit and service recommendations just for you!