Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses

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Health problems associated with military service during Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn and related VA benefits

Announcements

  • September is National Pain Awareness Month: Gulf War Veterans do not have to prove a connection between their qualifying military service and fibromyalgia, a presumptive illness characterized by widespread muscle pain.
  • Gulf War Veterans’ Health: The latest update on the Longitudinal Health Study of Gulf War Veterans finds that Gulf War Veterans’ health has worsened over time compared to the health of Gulf War-era Veterans who served elsewhere.

For VA benefit purposes, Gulf War Veterans are defined as those who served on active duty in the Southwest Asia theater of military operations any time during the first Gulf War starting August 2, 1990 through the Iraq War and subsequent reduced operations in Iraq. Military operations include Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom, and New Dawn.

Gulf War Veterans have experienced illnesses that led VA and others to research whether exposures during the Gulf War caused the symptoms. VA presumes certain medically unexplained symptoms and illnesses are related to Gulf War service. Eligible Veterans may receive VA disability compensation and health care benefits. Surviving spouses, dependent children, and dependent parents of Gulf War Veterans who died as the result of illnesses related to Gulf War service may be eligible for survivors’ benefits.

VA offers eligible Veterans a free Gulf War Registry health exam for possible long-term health problems related to Gulf War service.

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