Illness Still Undiagnosed? Veterans May Get VA Benefits for Gulf War Syndrome

 Your family was glad that you came back from the Middle East in one piece. While you are thankful every day that your life was spared, you know that you are far from whole. You’ve been to numerous doctor’s appointments, and each one is more disappointing than the last. Nobody seems to know what’s wrong with you—but you know it’s only a matter of time before the way you feel prevents you from working.

You May Qualify for Compensation Benefits for Gulf War Syndrome

For many years this condition was referred to as Gulf War Syndrome, now it is referred to as "chronic multi symptom illness" and "undiagnosed illnesses." In  order to get presumptive service connected benefits, veterans need to prove that they: (1)  Are a Persian Gulf Veteran; (2)  Have a " qualifying chronic disability " and (3) the particular "qualifying chronic disability" became manifest during service or thereafter by a degree of ten  percent or more after return from service.  Most veterans will have little difficulty proving service in the Persian Gulf. However, many veterans who suffer from undiagnosed conditions often have a harder time proving the extent of their disabilities. For instance, veterans who served in the Gulf War have reported a range of medical conditions, not all of which add up to a single diagnosis.

The VA recognizes the following as chronic multi symptom illnesses

  • chronic fatigue syndrome;
  • Fibromyalgia;
  • Irritable bowel syndrome and 
  • undiagnosed illnesses, whose symptoms include fatigue, skin conditions and respiratory disorders,  weight loss and sleep disorders 

Gathering Evidence for Your Claim

Finding the right evidence necessary to prove the claim may be difficult. A lay witness statement will often compliment the medical evidence. In order to get compensation for your condition, you should request as many of your treatment records as you can, including lab tests, x-rays, or even a doctor’s outpatient exam notes. Ask your doctor if there are any tests that can be done to support or rule out chronic multi symptom illness. You may also request that your doctor give an medical opinion on your work limitations—such as lifting and bending restrictions—to support your disability claim.

Are you having trouble with your disability application? Email us at [email protected] to find out how we can help you get the compensation  you are entitled to because of your condition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sean D. Cuddigan
SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska