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Gulf War Veterans Disability Deadline Extended

Wednesday, September 29, 2021
Gulf War Veterans Disability Deadline Extended

Medical evidence is still inconclusive about how long illnesses caused by Persian Gulf service take to show up in affected veterans.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has extended the time limit for Gulf War veterans to claim presumptive benefits for certain illnesses. Often referred to as Gulf War Syndrome, the condition does not require a direct link to a veteran’s time in service for them to receive presumptive benefits.

There typically is no time limit for claiming disability benefits. However, presumptive benefits do come with time restrictions for certain conditions.

In this case, approximately 200,000 veterans of the 650,000 that served in operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm are affected by Gulf War Syndrome. This illness includes chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, gastrointestinal disorders, and more.

To be covered, symptoms from these illnesses must last at least six months and have occurred from August 2nd, 1990, to the present. The condition also requires a diagnosis of at least 10% disabling by the VA.

The original deadline to claim these presumptive benefits was December 31st, 2021. The recent extension moves that cutoff date to December 31st, 2026. The department’s officials have cited two main reasons for this change. One is that there is technically no official end date for the Persian Gulf War established. The other reason is that medical evidence is still inconclusive about how long illnesses caused by Persian Gulf service take to show up in affected veterans. This piece is critical as it could mean further extensions if the science is still not clear by the 2026 deadline.

The delayed effects of these illnesses remind many of Agent Orange and how it has impacted Vietnam veterans. Usually, conditions or disabilities have to occur during service to be considered service-connected. This is not the case for Gulf War Syndrome.

If you or someone you know have any of the symptoms related to Gulf War Syndrome and served in the Gulf War, contact the VA for a medical exam to see if you are eligible for benefits or free health care.

Do you have any questions? Our New York disability lawyers are proud to assist veterans with benefits claims. Call us at 855-208-7783 or complete an online intake form on our website to schedule a free initial consultation today.  We serve Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens, and more.

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