Gulf War Syndrome VA RatingsIt has been more than 30 years since the start of Operation Desert Storm which became known as the Gulf War. During that two-month long conflict nearly 700 thousand men and women served in the Persian Gulf and it claimed the lives of 154 Americans. One of the tragic legacies of that war  has been the more than 100 thousand veterans who came home with debilitating health issues—constant pain and fatigue plus stomach, neurological, and memory problems. These conditions have become collectively known as Gulf War Illness or Gulf War Syndrome (GWS). Following the American military’s return to the region with the 2003 invasion of Iraq, service members once again began suffering from these same symptoms either during or after their return from the Persian Gulf.

If you served in southwest Asia anytime between 1990 and the present and have a medical condition related to your deployment, you may be eligible for monthly VA disability benefits. (For the definitive guide on winning VA disability benefits download our free book the Essential Guide to VA Disability Claims.) Additionally, the VA classifies certain chronic medical symptoms as presumptive. This means that veterans with these conditions don’t need the usual amount of evidence to file a disability claim.

What Illnesses and Disorders are Considered Presumptive for Gulf War Veterans?

You may qualify for benefits if you have one of these presumptive diseases:

  • Asthma
  • Brucellosis 
  • Campylobacter jejuni
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome;
  • Coxiella burnetii (Q fever)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Fibromyalgia;
  • Leukemia
  • Malaria
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • Nontyphoid salmonella
  • Respiratory illnesses
  • Rhinitis
  • Shigella
  • Sinusitius
  • Skin lesions and/or skin cancer
  • Visceral leishmaniasis
  • West Nile virus
  • And functional gastrointestinal disorders including irritable bowel syndrome, functional dyspepsia, and functional abdominal pain syndrome

Nine respiratory cancers have been added to the list of presumptive conditions

  • Squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx,
  • Squamous cell carcinoma of the trachea,
  • Adenocarcinoma of the trachea,
  • Salivary gland-type tumors of the trachea,
  • Adenosquamous carcinoma of the lung,
  • Large cell carcinoma of the lung,
  • Salivary gland-type tumors of the lung,
  • Sarcomatoid carcinoma of the lung,
  • Typical and atypical carcinoid of the lung.

Other Presumptive Disorders

Also included in the list of presumptive conditions is another large group of undiagnosed illnesses with symptoms that may include abnormal weight loss, fatigue, cardiovascular disease, muscle and joint pain, headache, menstrual disorders, neurological and psychological problems, skin conditions, respiratory disorders, and sleep disturbances.

How You Qualify

A successful VA disability claim must be able to prove that you were a veteran honorably discharged; that you have a current disability; that the disability occurred while in service; and there is a connection between the service event and your current disability.

To qualify as a Gulf War veteran, you must also prove:

  • You served in active duty in Southwest Asia in the following countries or areas and/or airspace above them:
  • The neutral zone between Saudi Arabia and Iraq
  • The Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Persian Gulf, or the Gulf of Oman\
  • The United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Iraq, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, or Afghanistan.
  • You served in Afghanistan on or after September 19, 2001.
  • Your disability has a rating of 10 percent or higher.
  • Your disability has no other cause other than your service in the Southwest Asia Theater or Afghanistan.
  • Your disability has been on-going for six months or longer.

We Can Help

The VA accredited attorneys at Cuddigan Law understand how difficult it is for veterans of the Gulf War to get their Gulf War Syndrome claims approved—the majority of claims are denied. If you're a veteran suffering symptoms you believe are associated with your military service in the Gulf War; or if you've applied and were denied benefits, call Cuddigan Law at 402-933-5405 for a free evaluation of your case. We can help determine if you qualify for VA disability.



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