Presumptive Disability Gulf War Veterans

There are many presumptive disabilities, including memory loss, asthma, fatigue, aches in the joints, or sexual dysfunction, for Gulf War veterans. If you are a veteran who served in the Persian Gulf War and developed any such illnesses, you may automatically get the entitlement for VA benefits.

These diseases, known as Gulf War Syndrome, may vary and show symptoms long after your services. So, it is mandatory to file a claim to VA for disability compensation as soon as they arise.


Take advantage of a FREE VA Claim Discussion with an experienced Team Member. Learn what you’ve been missing so you can FINALLY get the disability rating and compensation you’ve earned for your service.

Brief Understanding of the Gulf War Syndrome

The Gulf War Syndrome is an array of symptoms that veterans active in the Gulf War developed after service. The origin of these symptoms is still unclear, unlike other wars that caused the veterans similar diseases.

Since so many Gulf War veterans have experienced the same illness, VA regards them as presumptive disabilities at this point. So, they don’t seek evidence from the applicant for whether their disabilities are service-connected.

Presumptive Illnesses for Gulf War Veterans

The presumptive illnesses with connections to the Gulf War are-

  • Fibromyalgia: Contains symptoms like muscle aches, headache, insomnia, memory issue, and morning stiffness.
  • ME/CFS: Fatigues that linger even after taking rest and are intense. They do not stem from other health problems.
  • Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: Chronic symptoms in the gastrointestinal tract. Some of them are functional dyspepsia, IBS, and functional abdominal pain.
  • Undiagnosed Disabilities: Other common symptoms among Gulf War veterans include fatigue, joint ache, menstrual disorders, weight loss, skin conditions, cardiovascular illnesses, mental issues, and such.

Usually, these symptoms need to stay in you for at least 6 months for the VA to call them presumptive. They must also contribute to 10% of the disability rating. Finally, they must appear between any period of the Southwest Asia theater of military operation and December 31, 2026.

Pact Act for Veterans with Gulf War Syndrome

Since August 2022, the Pact Act especially focuses on the health care of veterans exposed to toxic substances, agent orange, radiation, burn pits, etc. The program includes a more focused, detailed, and personalized treatment of individual veterans.

Many Gulf War Syndrome are hazardous substance related. So, veterans with these also fall within the eligibility for Pact Act services. Start by filing a claim to get all these health care and VA disability payments.

What Makes You Eligible for the Pact Act?

First and foremost, you must be a veteran with a service-connected and toxic substance-related disability or cancer to be eligible for the Pact Act. However, you normally have to submit evidence with your claim of your illness’s connection to your service.

But there are the presumptive illnesses, where VA assumes that your disabilities are connected to your service. In these cases, you don’t need to provide any evidence. So far, there are several illnesses and cancers VA regard as presumptive. Moreover, if you have served on certain dates in specific locations, VA may give you an automatic VA disability benefit entitlement. Some of them are-

  • Iraq, Oman, Somalia, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, or Saudi Arabia on August 2, 1990, or after.
  • Egypt, Lebanon, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Syria, Djibouti, Afghanistan, or Jordan on September 11, 2001, or after.
  • Veterans served active duty during certain Vietnam War or Gulf War periods.
  • Additionally, many other locations in the USA and the world fall within this category. These sites are Superfund sites.

What Is a Superfund Site?

A superfund site is an area with toxic or hazardous contamination under the Superfund program. The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) declares whether a location is a superfund site. As an international agency, they can run this program globally. Their main task is to clean up the places.

If a veteran served on these superfund sites after their contamination, their illnesses may get the presumptive title.

Are the symptoms and effects of Gulf War Syndrome similar to Afghanistan War Syndrome?

The symptoms and effects of Gulf War Syndrome may differ from the impact of afghanistan war on soldiers. While both syndromes are experienced by veterans, they can manifest in distinct ways. However, further research is needed to understand the specific variations and similarities between these two conditions.

What Qualifies as a Veteran If You Didn’t Serve in a War?

Understanding the defining veteran identity can be complex, particularly for those who didn’t serve in a war. While traditionally a veteran is associated with combat experience, the definition extends beyond that.

Military service, regardless of whether it involves actual war participation, contributes to the invaluable qualities and skills veterans possess. Factors such as length of service, honorable discharge, and active duty demonstrate a commitment to serving the nation and qualify individuals as veterans, even if they haven’t been involved in combat.

How to File a VA Disability Claim

Follow the steps below to file a VA disability claim to the VA.

  • First, you need to be sure whether you are eligible. For example, the VA Disability Coach can examine you and give you a review.
  • When filing online, you should sign up/sign in to not lose any progress if you take a long time to complete the form. The site will also fill in some of the information for you.
  • Find the correct form online on the eBenefits site (which may be moved to the official VA site in the future) and fill it out properly.
  • If any evidence is necessary, collect them. The online application form usually specifies the needed evidence, making it a better option. Some examples of necessary proof are-
    • Your medical reports from VA or any private health center (Like VA Disability Couch).
    • Supporting letters from your friends, family, anyone you served with, or a law enforcement officer.
  • Aside from the evidence, any additional form may be required as well. Again, the online form should mention it.

Final Note

Illnesses connected to the Gulf War are not ignorable and can be severe. As such, the president has signed the Pact Act for veterans affected by these conditions. If you are eligible, submit your claim to the VA. The process is really easy now, and it takes VA a short time to evaluate your application. You may get different benefits like Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry, Gulf War Health Exam, and effective healthcare as a Gulf War veteran. Find out more by visiting the Public Health page of the VA site.