The Veterans Administration has announced several additional conditions that have been added to the list of presumptive diseases resulting in eligibility for VA disability benefits. Veterans who served in Vietnam and have been diagnosed with bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, or Parkinsonism will no longer have to prove exposure to Agent Orange or a relation between exposure and their disease.
Simply having the disease and having served in the country (or specific location) where Agent Orange was used is sufficient to prove service-related disability. Parkinson’s disease was previously approved as a presumptively service-connected disability, but now this approval extends to atypical Parkinsonism, which encompasses a broader array of conditions characterized by Parkinson’s-like symptoms but without the loss of nerve cells in the brain that denotes classic Parkinson’s disease. This will allow expedited processing and approval of disability compensation benefits for veterans with these conditions.
The VA is also undertaking rulemaking to add respiratory conditions such as asthma, sinusitis, and rhinitis to the list of disabilities presumptively associated with service in Southwest Asia, Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan during the Persian Gulf War and after 9/11. The parameters of this presumptive eligibility are yet to be determined, but the VA is focusing on respiratory conditions associated with particulate matter pollution. Until the new rules are finalized, Gulf War and post 9/11 veterans can continue to pursue compensation claims with evidence of exposure and service connection. These claims will be reviewed and expedited once presumptive eligibility is approved.
The Norris McLaughlin Elder Care & Special Needs Law Practice Group addresses the confusion and financial burden of the cost of care by advocating for our clients and maximizing their eligibility for government benefits, including Medicare, Medicaid, and Veterans’ benefits. If you have any questions about this post or any other related legal matters, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.