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.
What Conditions are “Presumed” to be Caused by 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.
Former Prisoners of War
Imprisoned for any length of time, and disability at least 10 percent disabling:
Any of the Anxiety States
Organic residuals of frostbite
Heart disease or hypertensive vascular disease and their complications
Stroke and its residuals
Imprisoned for at least 30 days, and disability at least 10 percent disabling:
Malnutrition (including optic atrophy)
Any other nutritional deficiency
Irritable bowel syndrome
Peptic ulcer disease
Cirrhosis of the liver
Exposed to Agent Orange
Served in the Republic of Vietnam between 1/9/62 and 5/7/75:
Acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy *
Chloracne or other acneform disease similar to chloracne *
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
Diabetes type 2
Ischemic heart disease
Soft-tissue sarcoma (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma or mesothelioma)
Respiratory cancers (lung, bronchus, larynx, trachea)
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 an herbicide agent during active military, naval, or air service.
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:
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 or ovary
Lymphomas (other than Hodgkin’s disease)
Primary liver cancer (except if cirrhosis or hepatitis B is indicated)
Gulf War Veterans
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:
Chronic fatigue syndrome
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 an 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.