Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki has a bold new vision for the VA. For many years Gulf War veterans have complained about the “Gulf War illness” and that the government has done nothing to help them. There have been thousands of disability claims filed and denied.
But that was all before Eric Shinseki. Now, the VA is going to re-examine disability claims of potentially thousands of Gulf War veterans who claim they are disabled due to their service related Gulf War illness.
According to Shinseki, this change is not only going to affect how VA clinic staff currently work with Gulf War vets, but how the VA will care for future veterans with service-related illnesses. Shinseki also stated he plans on establishing a standard that prevents veterans from waiting for decades to have their service-related illnesses acknowledged and treated.
Gulf War illness has afflicted approximately 175,00 – 210,000 Gulf War veterans. While the source of the illness has been sternly disputed, some symptoms of the illness are:
- Joint and muscle pain;
- Sleep issues; and
- Gastrointestinal problems.
A 1994 law allows veterans to collect payment from the VA for chronic disabilities the VA could not diagnose. Under this category, 3,400 Gulf War veterans have received benefits to date.
Approximately 300,000 Gulf War veterans submitted claims to the VA. About 14% of these claims were denied and of the claims that were granted, none of them were granted in full. The VA will review how the regulations were written and if there were issues preventing claims from being granted, the VA will give veterans an opportunity to have the VA reconsider denied claims.
Learn more about the VA re-opening Gulf War files.
If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact Veterans Help Group. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.