The VA believes that certain impairments identified in veterans were caused by their time in the military. Veterans can receive income under the VA's disability compensation payments program if they have a disability as a consequence of a service-related injury.
To be eligible for benefits, you must show that you are currently disabled, that your disability is related to your service on active duty, and that you were discharged from the military under honorable terms. Certain conditions, on the other hand, would automatically entitle a former serviceperson to benefits.
Presumptive service-connected conditions can help you get benefits faster, but you must prove that your condition exists and that it is related to active-duty service within a particular time frame after leaving the military.
There is no requirement to provide a connection between the occurrence of service and the existing circumstance for presumptive service connection. If the claim is for one of the 120 or so presumptive service-connected conditions stated in the regulations, the link is presumed.
For the presumption to prevail, the evidence must show that the claimant had the specific duty assignment or was in the specific place. There are several types of presumed service-related claims.
Defining a Service-Connected Condition
A veteran must show that he or she is disabled as a result of a service-related injury when applying for VA disability benefits. This usually entails pointing to a particular incident that took place while on active service and resulted in a disability. For example, during their time in the military, ex-service members may have been exposed to hazardous substances, loud noises, or environmental concerns.
The Regional Office will query whether a presumptive ailment is service-connected if there is no time restriction, the condition was recently diagnosed, and the period between release and the claim is considered. In this scenario, a history of symptoms must be provided to demonstrate that the ailment would have been or was manifested – within the appropriate time range – even if it had not been detected.
Only the proof of manifestation is necessary, not a diagnosis. No need for continuity of symptoms for some presumptive diseases, such as Agent Orange or ionizing radiation, or exposure to dangers producing Gulf War Syndrome, nor do they have to appear within one year after discharge.
Presumptive Conditions That Must Show Up Within One Year of Discharge
The conditions indicated below must have manifested to a degree of 10% impairment or greater within one year of release. There are a few exceptions, such as Hansen's disease, which has its own set of requirements for when symptoms must appear.
· Anemia, primary,
· Atrophy, Progressive muscular,
· Brain hemorrhage,
· Brain thrombosis,
· Calculi of the kidney, bladder, or gallbladder,
· Cardiovascular-renal disease, including hypertension,
· Cirrhosis of the liver,
· Diabetes mellitus,
· Encephalitis lethargica residuals,
· Endocarditis (this term covers all forms of valvular heart disease),
· Hansen's disease,
· Hodgkin's disease,
· Lupus erythematosus, systemic,
· Myasthenia gravis,
· Other organic diseases of the nervous system,
· Osteitis de Formans (Paget's disease),
· Palsy, bulbar,
· Paralysis agitans,
· Purpura idiopathic, hemorrhagic,
· Raynaud's disease,
· Sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral,
· Sclerosis, multiple,
· Thromboangiitis obliterans (Buerger's disease),
· Tuberculosis, active,
· Tumors, malignant, or of the brain or spinal cord or peripheral nerves, and
· Ulcers, peptic
Presumptive Conditions That May Appear any time Post-discharge
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), generally known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, can strike at any moment after leaving the military and will always result in a compensation claim. It is pre-programmed.
Ionizing Radiation-Induced Presumptive Conditions
The veteran is carefully examined to see if he or she was exposed to enough radiation to develop a variety of ailments, most of which are malignancies. Exposure is usually thought to be associated with nuclear explosions or tests, for which there is a precise list, and the veteran must demonstrate that he was present at the time. Depending on the circumstance, these diseases or disorders might appear at any moment after a particular span of time has passed. Manifesting does not imply a medical diagnosis; rather, it indicates the presence of evidence.
Since service connection is inferred, no evidence of service connection is necessary - simply evidence of the condition or disease presentation. However, the claimant must show that he or she was in one of the listed sites where ionizing radiation was likely present in significant amounts to cause one of the chronic illnesses on the list. This might be a challenging task.
Below is the whole list.
· All types of leukemia (excluding chronic lymphocytic leukemia);
· cancer of the thyroid, breast, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, pancreas, bile ducts, gall bladder, salivary gland, urinary tract (renal pelvis, ureter, urinary bladder, and urethra), brain, bone, lung, colon, and ovary;
· bronchiolo-alveolar carcinoma;
· multiple myeloma;
· lymphomas (other than Hodgkin's disease), and
· primary liver cancer (except if cirrhosis or hepatitis B is indicated).
Presumptive Herbicide-Related Health Problems in Vietnam (Agent Orange)
Agent Orange must be proven to have been exposed to the claimant. Establishing that the claimant was in Vietnam or in any other places where VA acknowledges there was exposure to Agent Orange is relatively easy, depending on service records. It may be difficult to show that you were exposed to Agent Orange in other conditions. For Agent Orange veterans, the VA believes the following ailments are service-related:
· AL amyloidosis,
· chloracne or other acne Form disease like chloracne – 10% < 1 year,
· porphyria cutanea tarda – 10% < 1 year,
· soft-tissue sarcoma (excluding osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi's sarcoma, or mesothelioma),
· Hodgkin's disease,
· multiple myeloma,
· respiratory cancers (lung, bronchus, larynx, trachea),
· non-Hodgkin's lymphoma,
· prostate cancer,
· acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy – 10% < 1 year,
· diabetes mellitus (Type 2),
· all chronic B-cell leukemias (which includes, however not limited to, hairy-cell leukemia and chronic lymphocytic leukemia),
· Parkinson's disease, and
· ischemic heart disease.
Gulf War Illness
Chronic impairments caused by undetected diseases and/or medically unexplained chronic multi-symptom illnesses identified by a cluster of signs or symptoms may qualify veterans for Disability Compensation. If the impairment has been present for at least 6 months, it is considered chronic.
The undiagnosed diseases have to have manifested at least 10% of the time while active duty in the Southwest Asia Theater of Operations between Aug. 2, 1990, and July 31, 1991, or at any point since then until Dec. 31, 2021.
Since service connection is inferred, no evidence of service connection is necessary - simply evidence of the condition or disease presentation. However, the claimant must show that he or she served in the particular theatre of activity. The disability must present itself at a rate of 10% or more from the commencement of active duty until December 31, 2021.
According to an earlier NAS research, 36.5 percent of the 700,000 servicemembers assigned to the Gulf War in 1990 and 1991 were exhibiting some signs of Gulf War sickness in 2005. According to a February NAS report, the federal government spent more than $500 million on Gulf War veteran research from 1994 to 2014, yet there have been few results concerning Gulf War sickness and particular chemical substances that might be causing it.
Undiagnosed sickness symptoms and medically unexplained chronic multi-symptom illness are described by a group of symptoms that usually involve:
· chronic fatigue syndrome,
· irritable bowel syndrome,
· signs or symptoms involving the skin,
· skin disorders,
· muscle pain,
· joint pain,
· neurological signs or symptoms,
· neuropsychological signs or symptoms,
· signs or symptoms involving the respiratory system (upper or lower),
· sleep disturbances,
· gastrointestinal signs or symptoms,
· cardiovascular signs or symptoms,
· abnormal weight loss, and
· menstrual disorders.
People living or working at the United States Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, were presumably subjected to drinking water polluted with industrial solvents, benzene, and other chemicals from the 1950s until the 1980s.
Veterans, Reservists, and National Guard members who were exposed to toxins in the water system at Camp Lejeune from August 1, 1953, to December 31, 1987, and afterward developed one of the eight diseases listed below have a probable service connection with VA.
· Adult leukemia,
· Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes,
· Bladder cancer,
· Kidney cancer,
· Liver cancer,
· Multiple myeloma,
· Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and
· Parkinson's disease
A Presumptive List of Conditions for Being a Prisoner of War
The veteran must have served for at least 90 days in a row. Depending on the period of captivity, there are 20 illnesses or disorders that are deemed service-connected for a prisoner of war and can appear at any point after separation to a debilitating degree of 10% or more.
Manifesting does not always imply a medical diagnosis; it just indicates that evidence exists. Since service connection is inferred, no evidence of service connection is necessary - simply evidence of the condition or disease presentation. The claimant must present evidence that he or she was a prisoner of war for the specified period. The following is the list.
· any of the anxiety states,
· dysthymic disorder,
· organic residuals of frostbite,
· post-traumatic osteoarthritis,
· atherosclerotic heart disease or hypertensive vascular disease and their complications,
· stroke and its complications,
· residuals of a stroke, and
· effective October 10, 2008, osteoporosis if the veteran has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The following ailments are deemed to be service-related for former POWs who were imprisoned for at least 30 days:
· chronic dysentery,
· malnutrition (including optic atrophy associated with malnutrition),
· pellagra and/or other nutritional deficiencies,
· irritable bowel syndrome,
· peptic ulcer disease,
· peripheral neuropathy except where related to infectious causes,
· cirrhosis of the liver, and
· effective September 28, 2009, osteoporosis.
If you can show that you were diagnosed with one or more of these conditions within a year of leaving the military and that the condition is at least 10% debilitating, VA will infer your impairment is service-related. A VA-accredited attorney can assist you in gathering evidence to support your condition and establishing the timetable required for the VA to infer eligibility to service connection benefits.