Medically Unexplained Chronic Multisymptom Illnesses
A prominent condition affecting Gulf War Veterans is a cluster of medically unexplained

chronic symptoms that can include fatigue, headaches, joint pain, indigestion, insomnia, dizziness, respiratory disorders, and memory problems.
VA does not use the term “Gulf War Syndrome” when referring to “medically

unexplained chronic multisymptom illnesses” reported by Gulf War Veterans.

Symptoms vary widely and therefore, do not meet the definition of a syndrome.

A syndrome is a group of symptoms that usually occur together and characterize a

certain disease or abnormal condition. That is why VA uses the term “medically

unexplained chronic multisymptom illnesses” instead of “Gulf War Syndrome.”

Gulf War Veterans who meet the criteria below do not need to prove a connection

between their military service and medically unexplained chronic multisymptom

illnesses in order to receive VA disability compensation.
VA presumes certain chronic, unexplained symptoms existing for 6 months or more are

related to Gulf War service without regard to cause. These "presumptive" illnesses

must have appeared during active duty in the Southwest Asia theater of military operations or by

December 31, 2016, and be at least 10 percent disabling.

These illnesses include:


Chronic fatigue syndrome, a condition of long-term and severe fatigue that is

not relieved by rest and is not directly caused by other conditions. 


Fibromyalgia, a condition characterized by widespread muscle pain. Other symptoms may

include insomnia, morning stiffness, headache, and memory problems.

Functional gastrointestinal disorders, a group of conditions marked by chronic or

recurrent symptoms related to any part of the gastrointestinal tract. Functional condition

refers to an abnormal function of an organ, without a structural alteration in the tissues.

Examples include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), functional

dyspepsia, and functional abdominal pain syndrome.


Undiagnosed illnesses with symptoms that may include but are not limited to:

abnormal weight loss, fatigue, cardiovascular disease, muscle and joint pain,

headache, menstrual disorders, neurological and psychological problems,

skin conditions, respiratory disorders, and sleep disturbances.
VA’s final rule specifying that functional gastrointestinal disorders

are covered as presumptive illnesses took effect on August 15, 2011.


Presumptive Veterans Affairs

Disability Conditions & Ratings



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VA SPOTLIGHT

Brett Valette, PhD


UPDATED...April 2017

This is a series of stories

bringing light to the dark side of the

VA’s treatment of some Veterans

applying for disability.  Whether out

of frustration, desperation, anger, or

‘just to make it right” they contacted me, and together, we fought the injustice. 

These are actual cases and claims. 

I have changed names and identifying

information for confidentiality reasons.


Spotlight March 2017

This is the first in a series of stories bringing

light to the dark side of the VA’s treatment

of some Veterans applying for disability. 


Spotlight April 2017

Claim Killer DBQ Questions.
VA Spotlight is a series of stories bringing

light to the dark side of the VA’s treatment

of some Veterans applying for disability.

Whether out of frustration, desperation,

anger, or ‘just to makeit right” they contacted

me, and together, we fought the injustice.


Click Here To Contact Dr. Valette



Agent Orange

Parkinson's Disease - A progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects muscle movement
Peripheral Neuropathy, Early-Onset - A nervous system condition that causes numbness,

tingling, and motor weakness. Under VA's rating regulations, it must be

at least 10 percent disabling within one year of herbicide exposure.
Porphyria Cutanea Tarda - A disorder characterized by liver dysfunction and by thinning and

blistering of the skin in sun-exposed areas. Under VA's rating regulations,

it must be at least 10 percent disabling within one year of exposure to herbicides.
Prostate Cancer - Cancer of the prostate; one of the most common cancers among men
Respiratory Cancers (includes lung cancer) Cancers of the lung, larynx, trachea, and bronchus
Soft Tissue Sarcomas (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi's sarcoma,

or mesothelioma) A group of different types of cancers in body tissues

such as muscle, fat, blood and lymph vessels, and connective tissues



Agent Orange

AL Amyloidosis - A rare disease caused when an abnormal protein, amyloid, enters tissues or organs
Chronic B-cell Leukemias - A type of cancer which affects white blood cells
Chloracne (or similar acneform disease) A skin condition that occurs soon after exposure

to chemicals and looks like common forms of acne seen in teenagers. Under VA's rating

regulations, it must be at least 10 percent disabling within one year of exposure to herbicides.
Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 A disease characterized by high blood sugar levels

resulting from the body’s inability to respond properly to the hormone insulin


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Veterans' Diseases Associated with Agent Orange

VA assumes that certain diseases can be related to a Veteran's qualifying military

service. We call these "presumptive diseases."
VA has recognized certain cancers and other health problems as presumptive diseases

associated with exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service.

Veterans and their survivors may be eligible for benefits for these diseases.


Veterans Medical Opinion Doctor
Veterans Clinical Psychologist
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Veterans Law Attorney


Gulf War Presumptions  Gulf War Service
For VA benefit purposes, Gulf War service is active military duty in any of the following

areas in the Southwest Asia theater of military operations any time during the first

Gulf War starting August 2, 1990 through the current conflict in Iraq.  

This includes Veterans who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003-2010) and

Operation New Dawn (2010 and continuing).

Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, The neutral zone between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain,

Qatar, The United Arab Emirates, Oman, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, Waters of the

Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, and the Red Sea & the airspace above these locations.


Permanent and Total Rating
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)


Agent Orange

Hodgkin's Disease - A malignant lymphoma (cancer) characterized by progressive enlargement

of the lymph nodes, liver, and spleen, and by progressive anemia
Ischemic Heart Disease - A disease characterized by a reduced supply of

blood to the heart, that leads to chest pain
Multiple Myeloma - A cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell in bone marrow
Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma - A group of cancers that affect the lymph glands and other lymphatic tissue


Veterans Clinical Psychologist


Presumptive Conditions

A "condition", in the language of the VA, is any disease, illness or injury that occurs during

active duty military service. To be service connected and eligible for a disability

compensation rating, the condition must be caused or contributed to by an event that

occurred during service. If the condition existed prior to service, it must be shown to

have been aggravated (made worse) by military service.

To achieve a disability compensation rating, the veteran must prove that he or she had

appropriate military service, that an event that caused the claimed condition occurred

and that a medically diagnosed condition that is disabling exists today.

The regulations that govern presumptive conditions only eliminate the requirement to

prove that an event caused the condition. For example, a Vietnam veteran does not have

to prove that agent orange caused the diabetes he has today. It is presumed that he was

exposed to agent orange and also that agent orange is at the root of the diabetes.

While agent orange and the Vietnam veteran are the best known of all presumptive conditions

and ratings, atomic veterans, certain Korean veterans and other veterans may also be

eligible for presumptive ratings of certain conditions.

The regulations are complex. Some veterans who have a Vietnam Service Medal aren't

eligible for presumptive ratings because they didn't set their boots on the soil of the country

of Vietnam. Many Korean veterans don't realize that they may be eligible for service

connections due to exposure to the herbicide agent orange.

If you believe that you may be eligible for any presumptive condition and rating, the best way

to find out is to file a VA disability claim. The process of adjudication is the only sure way to know.



Things You'll Need














Mail your forms, documents
and evidence here...
Department of Veterans Affairs
Claims Intake Center
PO Box 5235
Janesville, WI 53547-5235


Toll Free Fax: 844-822-5246


We recommend that you mail a copy
and then fax a copy!  Yes, it's twice the
work but maybe VA will only lose one
and the other will be processed.
Remember: Use Certified Mail!

Forms to File Claims

VA Form 21-526EZ
For...
Disability Service Connection
Secondary Service Connection

IncreasedDisability Compensation

Temporary Total Disability Rating
 Individual Unemployability
Compensation under 38 U.S.C. 1151
 Special Monthly Compensation
Specially Adapted Housing

Special Home Adaptation

Automobile Allowance/Adaptive Equipment
Benefits Based on a Veteran's
Seriously Disabled Child


VA Form 21-0958 - NOD
​Notice of Disagreement

VA Form 21-534 EZ

Application for DIC, Death Pension
Change of Address​

TDIU Annual - VA Form 4140
Declaration of Status
of Dependents
VA form 21-686c


How To

How To Apply For SSDI

How To Apply For

TDIU Unemployability

How To Use

Disability Benefits Questionnaires

(DBQ's)

How To Apply For A Disability Rating

How To Apply For An Increase

to an existing rating

How To Retrieve Your

Military Personnel Records


Research Your Claim

The M21-1MR
The CFR
TDIU
SMC

The Schedule For Rating Disabilities




Guide to Federal Records

Records of the Veterans Administration [VA]


(DTRA)

Defense Threat Reduction Agency


VA Payment for Emergency Care


Patient Record Flags