If you’re veteran suffering from peripheral neuropathy and you’re applying for disability benefits, it’s easier to show a presumptive connection to your military service than a direct connection. A presumptive connection is an assumption by The United States service-related Neuropathy diagnosisDepartment of Veterans Affairs (VA) that certain diseases are connected to a veteran’s service in the military. The VA acknowledges that certain diseases experienced by veterans in certain military situations qualify automatically for consideration. For example, if you were in Vietnam and exposed to Agent Orange, and you’re experiencing neuropathy disabilities, you and your surviving family members may be eligible for VA benefits.

Presumptive Service Connection

Your best chance to get VA disability benefits for peripheral neuropathy is by showing a presumptive service connection through your exposure to Agent Orange. To do this, you must:

  • Prove you were physically in Vietnam. You’ll need to show the VA that your military service took you to Vietnam or you served on the inland waterways between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975, even if it was for a brief period of time. You are not eligible if you simply flew over Vietnam. 
  • You must be at least 10 percent disabled. You need to show the VA that your disability occurred within one year of being exposed to Agent Orange and left you at least 10 percent disabled, as defined by the VA’s rating schedule.

Direct Service Connection

If you can’t show a presumptive service connection for neuropathy, you can still apply for VA disability benefits through a direct service connection. To prove this connection, you must: 

  • Prove you were exposed to Agent Orange during active service in the military.
  • Provide medical evidence of the neuropathy disability.
  • Provide medical evidence that links Agent Orange to the current disability.

If you’re a veteran who’s suffered with the constant pain or loss of functionality related to peripheral neuropathy and were forced to stop working, contact us at 402-933-5405 to discuss your situation. We can help determine if you’re eligible for VA Disability benefits.


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