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BREAKING NEWS—VA adds new Gulf War presumptive conditions!

Article is by "VA Claims Insider"

Updated Gulf War Presumptive List For 2022

As of April 26, 2022, the VA presumes that particulate matter exposures during military service in several regions is likely to have caused certain respiratory cancers. This updated Gulf War presumptive list for 2022 opens doors for many veterans who have been unable to service-connect these respiratory cancers until now. Find out how this new rule might affect YOUR claim and VA rating!

Lung cancer is the deadliest form of cancer affecting veterans. Gulf War veterans have an increased risk of developing lung cancer. Nearly 5,000 veterans die annually from this terrible disease. The VA has just opened a long-overdue door for veterans who suffer from any of nine different respiratory cancers (including five types of lung cancer) to obtain service connection and be eligible for benefits.

In November 2021, President Biden initially ordered the VA to review research into cancer to determine if military service could cause rare respiratory cancers. Thanks to this brand-new rule resulting from that research, it should be much easier to obtain a VA disability rating for these cancers through presumptive service connection if you served in a particular theater during specified periods.

Starting on April 26, 2022, the VA began processing claims for these cancers on a presumptive basis when the veteran is eligible based on location, date of service, and diagnosis of one or more of these respiratory cancers. This new ruling was announced by the VA on April 26, 2022.

Updated Gulf War Presumptive List for 2022

Effective April 26, 2022, the VA established an interim final rule (87 FR 24421) that identified a link between military service in qualifying areas of certain countries and the following nine rare respiratory cancers:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx

  • Squamous cell carcinoma of the trachea

  • Adenocarcinoma of the trachea

  • Salivary gland-type tumors of the trachea

  • Adenosquamous carcinoma of the lung

  • Large cell carcinoma of the lung

  • Salivary gland-type tumors of the lung

  • Sarcomatoid carcinoma of the lung

  • Typical and atypical carcinoid of the lung

In 2021, asthma, rhinitis, and sinusitis were the first disabilities recognized as presumptive conditions for Gulf War veterans. Thanks to the VA’s new presumption, thousands of veterans exposed to particulate matter in overseas military bases—including Iraq and Afghanistan—can more easily secure VA disability compensation for these respiratory cancers.

Who is eligible for the new Gulf War presumptive respiratory cancers?

To be eligible for these new Gulf War presumptives, veterans must be diagnosed with at least one of the respiratory cancers listed above.

Additionally, veterans must have served during one of these periods in these locations:

  • From August 2, 1990, to the present in the Southwest Asia theater of operations, OR

  • From September 19, 2001, to the present in Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Syria, or Djibouti

Countries in the Southwest Asia Theater of Operations

If you served during the Persian Gulf War, you are likely eligible for this new presumptive ruling. The VA considers the following countries to be within the Southwest Asia theater of operations:

  • Bahrain

  • Iraq

  • Kuwait

  • Oman

  • Persian Gulf

  • Qatar

  • Saudi Arabia

  • The United Arab Emirates

  • Neutral zone between Iraq and Saudi Arabia

  • Gulf of Aden

  • Gulf of Oman

  • Arabian Sea

  • Red Sea

Is there a time limit for these nine types of cancer and presumptive service connection?

There is no time limit to file a claim for the new presumptive respiratory cancers. Unlike the three original presumptive conditions for Gulf War veterans (asthma, rhinitis, and sinusitis), these cancers can take decades to develop. There is no specific time frame during which you must be diagnosed in order for your cancer to be linked to your service.

If you meet the other qualifications and were ever diagnosed with one of these cancers or are diagnosed in the future, you may be eligible for presumptive service connection. The amount of time you spent in a qualifying area does not matter as long as you meet the date of service requirements listed above.

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