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What is the “Gulf War Syndrome”?

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) doesn’t like to use the term “Gulf War Syndrome.” Even so, when you meet certain criteria, your Gulf War injuries make you eligible for VA disability benefits. The VA recognizes that veterans who served in the 1991 Gulf War suffer from many medically unexplained, combat-related, chronic symptoms.

The VA describes Gulf War injuries as “chronic multisymptom illness” or “undiagnosed illnesses.” Why? Because so many different symptoms are involved. If you experience the following, then you should qualify for disability benefits:

  • Your illnesses appeared during active duty
  • You were on active duty in the Southwest Asia theater of military operations
  • You’re applying for benefits on or by December 31, 2016
  • Your symptoms create at least a 10% disability

The VA presumes certain symptoms are linked to your military service and you don’t have to prove their connection. Symptoms that qualify many veterans for benefits include the following:

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (rest doesn’t get rid of your long-term fatigue and no other conditions are causing it)
  • Fibromyalgia (symptoms include insomnia, headache, overall muscle pain, trouble with memory)
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Other undiagnosed illnesses that involve abnormal weight loss, cardiovascular disease, muscle and joint pain, headache, menstrual disorders, neurological and psychological problems, skin conditions, respiratory disorders and sleep difficulties
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