FAQ about presumptive service-related medical conditions

On Behalf of | Dec 20, 2022 | veterans' benefits

Veteran Administration (VA) benefits provide medical services to retired soldiers. Like many benefit programs, applicants must prove injury causation and medical need for coverage.

The VA now makes it easier for veterans to receive medical care by recognizing presumptive service-related medical conditions. To learn more about these conditions, read through these frequently asked questions.

What is the definition of presumptive service-related medical conditions?

Traditionally, veterans and active duty personnel have to prove their job caused an illness or injury. On the other hand, presumptive service conditions assume exposure to all personnel at specific locations and times. To demonstrate causation, personnel must only provide proof of duty assignment.

How does timing affect benefit qualification?

Presumptive service-related medical conditions fit into two categories based on the timing of symptom manifestation. Some covered illnesses, such as certain tropical and infectious diseases, must develop within one year of discharge.

However, several conditions have no time limit for when symptoms may develop. Some of the covered illnesses in this category result from exposure to herbicides during the Vietnam war, burn pits in the Gulf wars and contaminated water at Camp Lejune from the 1950s to the 1980s.

What are common illnesses related to presumptive exposure?

Evaluating duty assignment and presumptive exposure is essential if military personnel develop any of the following illnesses:

  • Tropical illnesses such as plague, cholera and malaria
  • Infection diseases like West Nile virus, shigella and salmonella
  • Herbicide exposure conditions, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Parkinson’s disease and soft-tissue sarcoma

Keeping documentation of when symptoms first develop is crucial for illnesses that must manifest within one year of discharge.

Continued evaluation of illness manifestation related to duty assignments may increase the number of veterans receiving coverage for presumptive service-related medical conditions.