Securing Benefits For Presumptively Service-Related Medical Conditions

Some veterans who have been diagnosed with certain types of medical conditions may be presumed to have a medical condition that was caused or aggravated by their service in the armed forces.* This includes:

  • Veterans diagnosed with chronic diseases, such as arthritis, diabetes or hypertension, within one year of release from active duty
  • Veterans diagnosed with tropical diseases, such as cholera, dysentery, malaria or filariasis, within one year of release from active duty
  • Veterans diagnosed with ALS/Lou Gehrig’s disease (also called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) at any time after discharge or release from active duty with service of 90 days or more
  • Former prisoners of war diagnosed with psychosis, anxiety disorders, dysthymic disorder, post-traumatic osteoarthritis, heart disease, hypertensive vascular disease, stroke, chronic dysentery or irritable bowel syndrome (and resulting in a minimum 10 percent disability)
  • Veterans of Vietnam service who served between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, (but not including service in offshore waters) who were diagnosed with medical conditions related to exposure to Agent Orange such as Hodgkin’s disease and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; multiple myeloma; lung- and throat-related cancers like tracheal cancer, cancer of the larynx, cancer of the bronchus and lung cancer; prostate cancer, type 2 diabetes; chronic lymphocytic leukemia; soft tissue sarcoma (with some specific exclusions); and, under certain conditions, chloracne and porphyria cutanea tarda
  • Veterans exposed to ionizing radiation (under certain specified locations and types of exposure) and diagnosed with any of about 20 specific forms of cancer, such as Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, bronchioloalveolar carcinoma, many types of leukemia, multiple myeloma and primary liver cancer (unless cirrhosis or hepatitis B is indicated)
  • Gulf War veterans diagnosed with chronic, multisymptom illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia or irritable bowel syndrome that are medically unexplained (clusters of signs or symptoms must be present for at least six months; conditions must be at least 10 percent disabling; diagnoses must be made by December 31, 2011).

*Note: There are occasions where it is possible for the VA to rebut the presumption that an illness or medical condition is service-connected, but this is not an easy hurdle.

For more information, visit our Veterans Compensation FAQ page.

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