Gulf War Syndrome Illness | VA Lawyers
Since the early 1990s, many war veterans have demonstrated specific symptoms that could not be explained by other medical conditions. These war veterans exhibited what we now know after medical research as Gulf War Syndrome.
For those US veterans who are suffering from Gulf War Syndrome, a debilitating and painful condition that has resulted from service in Iraq, the struggle to receive recognition and healthcare from the VA has been a long and arduous one.
Despite ample scientific evidence to support Gulf War Syndrome, all too often, claims for support and help from the VA have been denied due to a reluctance to accept that the condition exists. This has caused further frustration and distress, and those veterans who have faced denial can often feel like their situation is hopeless and that no one is listening.
A lot of veterans don't even know that compensation is available for Gulf War Syndrome. So what is this disorder, what benefits for your Gulf War Service are available, and how can you receive the compensation you deserve?
Please continue reading below to learn more about gulf war syndrome and who you can contact for more information and guidance when its effects hit close to home.
What Is Gulf War Syndrome?
Gulf War Syndrome is an illness like no other, and it is caused by several war-related factors. Gulf war veterans develop symptoms that aren't explained by any medical condition; therefore, it is a "gulf war syndrome."
Gulf War Syndrome Symptoms
The symptoms of gulf war syndrome include digestive issues, difficulty sleeping, and other health problems with memory and cognition.
Additional symptoms of gulf war syndrome:
- Joint pain
- Joint discomfort
- Debilitating fatigue
If you or someone you love is a Gulf War veteran and has experienced any of these symptoms and detriment to their health, you may want to speak with a lawyer about compensation. You may be eligible to receive VA disability compensation for an undiagnosed illness that falls under the umbrella term "Gulf War Syndrome."
What Are the Persian Gulf War Environmental Hazards?
During the Persian Gulf War, several different environmental hazards led to the development of Gulf War syndrome. For example, over 750 Kuwaiti oil well fires, solvents, and fuels ingesting pyridostigmine bromide tablets, multiple vaccines, and much more.
Because of the conditions present during the Gulf War, many military veterans began reporting that they had debilitating medical symptoms such as widespread body pain, chronic diarrhea, and more.
For decades, the true cause of Gulf War Syndrome has remained very shifty; however, recently, many scientists pin the blame on sarin, a gas that was released into the air when caches of Iraqi chemical weapons were bombed. Sarin is usually deadly, but the sarin gas that soldiers were exposed to in Iraq was diluted, so it wasn't fatal.
Many military veterans were exposed to several different types of toxins and other harmful conditions. All of the exposures aren't known yet, but there is still continued research going on to pinpoint all possible exposures.
Which veterans are covered by PGW compensation?
The Persian Gulf War Syndrome Compensation Act sets out which military veterans can be compensated for Persian Gulf War Syndrome following service in the Gulf War. This includes veterans of the Gulf War who served in:
- The Arabian Sea
- The Oman Gulf
- The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
- The United Arab Emirates
- The buffer zone between Iraq and Saudi Arabia
- Nearby seas, including the Arabian Sea and the Red Sea
If you served in one or more of these areas during the Gulf War and you suffer from a cluster of medically unexplained chronic symptoms that are detrimental to your health, you may be able to claim health benefits to help you cover the cost of living with Gulf War Syndrome.
PGW VA Regulations
After the Gulf War, congress enabled statutory directives which addressed disabilities that veterans who served in Southwest Asia may have suffered. This directive was initially § 38 USC 1117 before the VA promulgated the regulations at 38 CFR § 3.317. This means that the law provides benefits for a qualifying chronic disability that results from an undiagnosed illness or medically unexplained chronic multisymptom illness and health conditions.
Undiagnosed Illness and Health Concerns
Through the VA, the term "undiagnosed illness" covers an extensive range of conditions or symptoms that do not conform to a formal diagnosis. For something to be considered an undiagnosed illness, the veteran must have a symptom that a doctor cannot diagnose or figure out the cause of.
Examples of undiagnosed illnesses:
- Menstrual disorders
- Neurological problems
- Unexplained weight loss
- Cardiovascular issues
- Skin conditions
- Trouble sleeping
If you suffer from headaches or have respiratory disturbances that affect you, you may have an undiagnosed illness and other health conditions. It is best to speak with an attorney to learn more about your legal options when it comes to seeking compensation from the VA.
Who Qualifies for Gulf War Presumptive Service Connection?
In order for the VA to approve a claim connecting any type of disability to prior military service, a veteran needs to show:
- A current diagnosed disability
- Health records of in-service injuries or illnesses
- Proof linking the in-service injury or illness and the current disability.
However, Gulf War veterans don't have to provide health records of an in-service injury or illness if they have specific qualifying services in the Southwest Asia theater of operations. Instead, the VA presumes service-related injury/illness for veterans who:
- Served active military, naval, or air service;
- In Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the neutral zone between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, the Gulf of Aden, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, or the airspace above those locations;
- Since August 2nd of, 1990.
Please make note that the areas covered above do not include Afghanistan. However, veterans who served in Afghanistan during the Persian Gulf War Era could also qualify for presumptive service connection from a specific list of infectious diseases.
If a veteran does not have the qualifying service above, they might still be able to receive VA disability compensation for disabilities due to service in the Southwest Asia theater of operations. However, the veteran’s claim and evidence collected by the VA must show that the veteran’s claimed disability is at least as likely unrelated to or incurred in service.
Gulf War Veteran Benefits
Gulf War veterans can receive several different types of compensation. For example, you could receive disability compensation from the VA, loans, insurance, and treatment for PTSD.
How Do I Apply for Benefits?
If you served during the Gulf War and have yet to fill out a claim for gulf war syndrome, you need to fill out a 526EZ to see if you qualify for benefits. There are numerous veterans service organizations and centers that can assist you in filing a new claim free of charge. However, if you have previously filed a claim and were turned down, you should contact an attorney who can help you appeal the decision or even reopen a previously filed claim.
How can Veterans' Gulf War Benefits Provide Relief?
There is no consistent evidence of a syndrome unique to gulf veterans, but most sufferers of a Gulf War illness and other desert storm diseases share a similar cluster of symptoms. Gulf War Syndrome bears some resemblance to other common illnesses, including chronic fatigue syndrome. Chronic fatigue syndrome is a disease characterized by extreme fatigue, sleep abnormalities, pain, and other symptoms that are made worse by exertion. Like chronic fatigue syndrome, Gulf War Syndrome can result in sustained and debilitating fatigue that makes it hard to work full-time or take part in everyday social activities.
If you’re eligible to claim benefits for Gulf War illness and injury, this could help you to cover the cost of health care, treatment, therapy, or living adjustments that you require as a result of your Gulf War service. Your war veterans' Gulf War Syndrome benefits can be spent on anything you want. Benefits help many veterans who are unable to work full-time to make up lost earnings.
How Much Compensation Can Veterans Get for Gulf War Syndrome?
As soon as service connection is proven for Gulf War Illnesses, the amount of monthly, tax-free payments that you receive depends on your specific disability and how much that disability affects earning capacity.
For example, a veteran who suffers from service-connected irritable bowel syndrome can be rated as 0%, 10%, or 30% disabling, depending on how frequent and severe episodes of bowel or abdominal issues are.
Generally, asymptomatic conditions are assigned a 0 percent disability rating, meaning the veteran gets no monthly disability compensation for that condition.
How To Find the Right Lawyer
If you are ready to work with an attorney about your Gulf War syndrome, you will need to find an attorney with experience handling similar cases. You must locate an attorney who has expertise in veterans disability law.
When you first look for an attorney, you may be overwhelmed by the search results you get. Again, make sure you're looking for a VA disability lawyer before you schedule an initial consultation with the wrong type of lawyer.
Check Their Reviews
Once you find a few lawyers you think you want to work with, take a look at their reviews. You can use reputable websites such as the Better Business Bureau or Google Reviews to learn more about what other clients have to say about their working relationship with the attorney.
Meet With the Attorney
It is best to meet with an attorney about your case to get a better feel for the working relationship. Some attorneys offer their clients a free no-obligation case evaluation.
This means they can give you advice about your case without the need to pay them upfront. You can discuss payment options if the attorney decides to take on your case. Some lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they don't take any payment unless you win your case.
Why Choose Wettermark Keith?
Wettermark Keith are experts in Gulf War illness and compensation for veterans. We work with Gulf War veterans suffering from a wide range of Gulf War illnesses and disorders to claim VA benefits for their time in service. With specific knowledge of common military conditions and veteran affairs law, we can help you to apply for veteran benefits following your service in the Gulf.
We have worked with thousands of war veterans from the US, UK, and overseas to help them claim VA benefits that they’re entitled to following exposure to harmful chemicals, contaminants, and combat trauma. If you’re suffering from a chronic illness or unable to live a normal life after serving in the Gulf War, you can claim benefits that offer peace of mind and security to you and your family, no matter what happens in the future.
Gulf War Syndrome Assistance
Suffering from the effects of war can take a toll on someone's body. Sometimes, the aftermath of going to war can leave people with illnesses that are hard to diagnose because they're related to something that isn't common.
This often happens with those who served in the Gulf War. You may have gulf war syndrome if you've suffered an illness or a combination of illnesses related to the Gulf War.
If you are unsure if your sickness is related to the Gulf War and you need help creating a claim with the VA, contact us. Our team is here to answer any questions you may have about your case.
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