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VETERANS' CORNER: Vets' compensation explained

on November 03, 2013 2:50 AM

• EDITOR’S NOTE: Veterans’ Corner, a column to inform armed-forces veterans about services and benefits available to them, appears the first Sunday of each month.

A veteran who served in the Republic of Vietnam between Jan. 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, is presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange and other herbicides used in support of military operations.

VA presumes the following diseases to be service-connected for such exposed veterans: AL amyloidosis, chloracne or other acne-form disease similar to chloracne, porphyria cutanea tarda, soft-tissue sarcoma (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma or mesothelioma), Hodgkin’s disease, multiple myeloma, respiratory cancers (lung, bronchus, larynx, trachea), non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, prostate cancer, acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy, diabetes mellitus (Type 2), all chronic B-ell leukemias (including but not limited to, hair-cell leukemia and chronic lymphocytic leukemia), Parkinson’s disease and ischemic heart disease.

Gulf War veterans with chronic disabilities may receive disability compensation for chronic disabilities resulting from undiagnosed illnesses and/or medically unexplained chronic multi-symptom illnesses defined by a cluster of signs or symptoms. A disability is considered chronic if it has existed for at least six months.

The undiagnosed illness must have appeared either during active service in the Southwest Asia theater of operations during the Gulf War period of Aug. 2, 1990, to July 31, 1991, or to a degree of at least 10 percent at any time since then.

This theater of operations includes Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the neutral zone between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, the Gulf of Aden, the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, the Red Sea and the airspace above these locations.

Examples of symptoms of an undiagnosed illness and medically unexplained chronic multi-symptom illness defined by a cluster of signs and symptoms include chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, functional gastrointestinal disorders, fatigue, signs or symptoms involving the skin, headache, muscle pain, joint pain, neurological signs or symptoms, neuropsychological signs or symptoms, signs or symptoms involving the respiratory system (upper or lower), sleep disturbances, gastrointestinal signs or symptoms, cardiovascular signs, or symptoms, abnormal weight loss, and menstrual disorders.

Presumptive service connection may be granted for the following infectious diseases if found compensable within a specific period: Brucellosis, campylobacter jejuni, Coxiella burnetti (Q fever), malaria, mycobacterium tuberculosis, Nontyphoid salmonella, shigella, visceral leishmaniasis and West Nile virus. Qualifying periods of service for these infectious diseases include active military, naval or air service in the above stated Southwest Asia theater of operations during the Gulf War period of Aug. 2, 1990, until such time as the Gulf War is ended by congressional action or Presidential proclamation, and active military, naval or air service on or after Sept. 19, 2001, in Afghan istan.

The information is from the Federal Benefits for Veterans, 2013 edition. If you have any questions, call Brenda Stormer at the Veterans Affairs Office, (724) 465-3815.

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