Military Advantage

New Rule Helps Gulf War Vets

To the relief of many Gulf War Veterans, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki announced the publication of a final regulation in the Federal Register which will make it easier for Veterans to access Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care and disability compensation for certain diseases associated with service in Southwest Asia (including Iraq) or Afghanistan.  

The final regulation establishes new presumptions of service connection for nine specific infectious diseases (Brucellosis, Campylobacter jejuni, Q fever, Malaria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Nontyphoid Salmonella, Shigella, Visceral leishmaniasis and West Nile virus) for those military service in Southwest Asia beginning on or after the start of the first Gulf War on Aug. 2, 1990, through the conflict in Iraq and on or after Sept. 19, 2001, in Afghanistan.

With the final rule, a Veteran will only have to show service in Southwest Asia or Afghanistan and that he or she had one of the nine diseases within a certain time after service and has a current disability as a result of that disease.  Most of these diseases are diagnosed within one year of return from service, through some conditions may manifest at a later time.

For non-presumptive conditions, a Veteran is required to provide medical evidence to establish an actual connection between military service in Southwest Asia or Afghanistan and a specific disease.  

For information about health problems associated with military service in Southwest Asia and Afghanistan, and related VA programs, go to www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/gulfwar/ and http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/oefoif/index.asp.

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