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Sean Kendall

Q:
What is a "presumptive" service connection?

A:

The VA presumes that specific disabilities diagnosed in certain veterans were caused by their military service. The VA does this because of the unique circumstances of their service. 

The following are "presumed" to be caused by military service:

1. Veterans diagnosed with chronic diseases

(a) within one year of after active duty service. These chronic diseases include:

  • Anemia
  • Arteriorsclerosis
  • Arthritis
  • Atrophy
  • Brain hemorrhage
  • Brain thrombosis
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Calculi of the kidney, bladder, or gallbladder
  • Cardiovascular-renal disease, including hypertension
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Coccidioidomycosis
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Encephalitus lethargica residuals
  • Endocarditis
  • Endocrinopathies
  • Epilepsies
  • Hansen's disease
  • Hodgkin's disease
  • Leukemia
  • Lupus
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Myelitis
  • Myocarditis
  • Nephritis
  • Other organic diseases of the nervous system
  • Paget's disease
  • Osteomalacia
  • Palsy, bulbar
  • Paralysis agitans
  • Psychoses
  • Purpura idiopathic, hemmorrhagic
  • Raynaud's disease
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Sceleroderma
  • Sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral
  • Syringomyelia
  • Thromboangiitis obliterans (Beurger's disease)
  • Tuberculosis (within 3 years of service)
  • Tumors, malignant, or of the brain or spinal cord or peripherial nerves
  • Ulcers
  • Certain tropical diseases

(b) within seven years of service:

  • Multiple scelerosis

(c) at any time after discharge:

  •  Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)/Lou Gehrig's disease 

2. Certain illnesses associated with former prisoners of war, Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange, Atomic veterans exposed to Ionizing radiation, and Gulf War veterans

 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 or 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

Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange:

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

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

Atomic veterans exposed to Ionizing radiation:

(1) Participated in atmospheric nuclear testing; occupied or was a POW in Hiroshima or Nagasaki; service before 2/1/92 at a diffusion plan 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)

Gulf War Veterans (undiagnosed illness):

(1) Served in the Southeast Asia theater of operations during the Gulf War with condition at least 10 percent diabling by 12/31/16. Included are medically unexplained chronic multi-symptom illness 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
  • signs or symptoms of undiagnosed illness include: fatigue, skin symptoms, headaches, muscle pain, joint pain, neurological symptoms, respiratory symptoms, sleep disturbance, GI symptoms, cardiovascular symptoms, weight loss, menstrual disorders