What is “Presumptive” Service Connection?

The VA presumes that specific disabilities diagnosed in certain veterans were caused by their military service. VA does this because of the unique circumstances of their military service. If one of these conditions is diagnosed in a veteran in one of these groups, VA presumes that the circumstances of his/her service caused the condition, and disability compensation can be awarded.

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 What Conditions are “Presumed” to be caused by Military Service?

Veterans in the groups identified below: Entitlement to disability compensation may be presumed under the circumstances described and for the conditions listed.

Veterans within one year of release from active duty: Veterans diagnosed with chronic diseases (such as arthritis, diabetes, or hypertension) are encouraged to apply for disability compensation.

Veterans with continuous service of 90 days or more: Veterans diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)/Lou Gehrig's disease at any time after discharge or release from qualifying active service is sufficient to establish service connection for the disease, if the veteran had active, continuous service of 90 days or more.

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 Former Prisoners of War:

(1) Imprisoned for any length of time, and disability at least 10 percent disabling:
• psychosis
• any of the anxiety states
• dysthymic disorder
• organic residuals of frostbite
• post-traumatic osteoarthritis
• heart disease or hypertensive vascular disease and their complications
• stroke and its residuals

(2) Imprisoned for at least 30 days, and disability at least 10 percent disabling:
• avitaminosis
• beriberi
• chronic dysentery
• helminthiasis 
• malnutrition (including optic atrophy) 
• pellagra
• any other nutritional deficiency
• irritable bowel syndrome
• peptic ulcer disease
• peripheral neuropathy
• cirrhosis of the liver

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 Vietnam Veterans (Exposed to Agent Orange):

Served in the Republic of Vietnam between 1/9/62 and 5/7/75:

• acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy*
• AL amyloidosis 
• B-cell leukemias
• chloracne or other acneform disease similar to chloracne*
• chronic lymphocytic leukemia
• diabetes type 2
• Hodgkin's disease
• ischemic heart disease
• multiple myeloma
• non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
• Parkinson's disease
• porphyria cutanea tarda*
• prostate cancer
• respiratory cancers (lung, bronchus, larynx, trachea)
• soft-tissue sarcoma (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi's sarcoma or mesothelioma)

* Must become manifest to a degree of 10 percent or more within a year after the last date on which the veteran was exposed to an herbicide agent during active military, naval, or air service.

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 Atomic Veterans (Exposed to Ionizing Radiation):

Participated in atmospheric nuclear testing; occupied or was a POW in Hiroshima or Nagasaki; service before 2/1/92 at a diffusion plant in Paducah, KY, Portsmouth, OH, or Oak Ridge, TN; or service before 1/1/74 at Amchitka Island, AK:

• all forms of leukemia (except for chronic lymphocytic leukemia)
• cancer of the thyroid, breast, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, pancreas, bile ducts, gall bladder, salivary gland, urinary tract (kidneys, renal pelves, ureters, urinary bladder and urethra), brain, bone, lung, colon, ovary
• bronchiolo-alveolar carcinoma
• multiple myeloma
• lymphomas (other than Hodgkin's disease)
• primary liver cancer (except if cirrhosis or hepatitis B is indicated)

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 Gulf War Veterans (Undiagnosed Illness):

Served in the Southwest Asia Theater of Operations during the Gulf War with condition at least 10 percent disabling by 12/31/11. Included are medically unexplained chronic multi-symptom illnesses defined by a cluster of signs or symptoms that have existed for six months or more, such as:

• chronic fatigue syndrome
• fibromyalgia
• irritable bowel syndrome
• any diagnosed or undiagnosed illness that the Secretary of Veterans Affairs determines warrants a presumption of service connection

For More Information, Call Toll-Free 1-800-827-1000 or Visit Our Web Site at http://www.va.gov

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Anonymous - Philadelphia, PA

"I am the wife of a Viet Nam Veteran. My husband started going to PVMSEC 10 years ago for help. No mere words could ever express how much his life and in turn our family life has changed for the better in those years. I am and always will be grateful for the wonderful care he has received at the Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service Center & Education Center."

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