Explaining ‘presumed disabilities’
By Tammy Javenkoski
Oneida County VSO
There are certain disabilities suffered by veterans that are “presumed,” by the Veterans Administration, to be the result of military service. Because of the unique circumstances of military service, once one of the presumed conditions listed below is diagnosed and if the veteran meets the criteria, they may be eligible for service-connected disability compensation. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease): Because veterans have about a 60 percent higher chance of being diagnosed with this condition over non-veterans, this is automatically considered service connected as long as the veteran had 90 days or more of continuous active service military service. This includes veterans of any branch during any period of service.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS): If a veteran is diagnosed with this condition within seven years of discharge from the military, MS is presumed to be service connected. If a veteran was diagnosed with it more than seven years after discharge, there still could be evidence in their service medical record that shows they actually had it long before the diagnosis so they may be eligible, too.
If a veteran has either of the above two conditions, we will file a service-connected disability claim and assign the Paralyzed Veterans of American (PVA) as their advocate for this claim. There is a PVA office located in the VA Regional Office in Milwaukee and they are an expert team who works with veterans who have spinal cord injuries and diseases, and they will help expedite the claim and get the veteran any additional benefits to which they’re entitled.
Former Prisoners of War: There are two different lists of presumptives depending on the length of time a veteran was a POW.
Vietnam Veterans: This is for veterans who served “boots on ground” in Vietnam between Jan. 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975. It also includes veterans who served on some bases in Thailand, along the Korean DMZ, and “brown water” Navy veterans during more restricted periods of time.
Atomic Veterans (Exposed to ionizing radiation): This includes veterans who participated in atmospheric nuclear testing; occupied or was a POW in Hiroshima or Nagasaki; served before Feb. 1, 1992 at a diffusion plant in Paducah, Ky., Portsmouth, Ohio, or Oak Ridge, Tenn.; or served before Jan. 1, 1974 at Amchitka Island, Alaska.
Gulf War Veterans: This includes veterans who served in the Southwest Asia theater of operations during the Gulf War and had a condition or conditions that began on active duty or before Dec. 31, 2016.
Camp Lejeune Veterans: Veterans who served in Camp Lejeune, N.C. or MCAS New River for at least 30 cumulative days from Aug. 1, 1953 through Dec. 31, 1987, were presumed to be exposed to contaminated water. There are 15 conditions that are attributed to this exposure.
Because I have limited space for my articles, I didn’t list all of the presumptive conditions; however, if you contact us, we will provide that information to you. The most important thing I want to express is if in doubt, please ask.
Tammy Javenkoski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Jason Dailey, Assistant CVSO, can be reached at email@example.com or you can call us at (715) 369-6127. You can also contact us via Facebook at www.facebook.com/oneidacvso.