Presumptive” Disability Benefits for Certain Groups of Veterans


What is “Presumptive” Service Connection?


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.


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 for 90 days or more.


Former Prisoner of War:

  1. Imprisoned any length of time, and disability at least 10 percent disabling:

Stroke and its residuals


  1. Imprisonment at least 30 days and disability at least 10 percent disabling


Vietnam Veterans (Exposed to Agent Orange)


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


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


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.


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:


Signs or symptoms of an undiagnosed illness include: fatigue, skin symptoms, headaches, muscle pain, joint pain, neurological symptoms, respiratory symptoms, sleep disturbance, GI symptoms, cardiovascular symptoms, weight loss, and menstrual disorders.