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.

Veterans in the groups identified below.

Entitlement to disability compensation may be presumed under the circumstances described and for the conditions listed.

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 of 90 days or more.

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.

Former Prisoners of War

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


Any of the Anxiety States

Dysthymic disorder

Organic residuals of frostbite

Post-traumatic osteoarthritis

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:



Chronic dysentery


Malnutrition (including optic atrophy)


Any other nutritional deficiency

Irritable bowel syndrome

Peptic ulcer disease

Peripheral neuropathy

Cirrhosis of the liver

Vietnam Veterans

Exposed to Agent Orange

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

Acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy *

AL amyloidosis

B-cell leukemias

Chloracne or other acneform disease similar to chloracne *

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Diabetes type 2

Hodgkin’s disease

Ischemic heart disease

Multiple myeloma

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Soft-tissue sarcoma (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma or mesothelioma)

Respiratory cancers (lung, bronchus, larynx, trachea)

Prostate cancer

Porphyria cutanea tarda *

Parkinson’s disease

* 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.

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:

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

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

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.

For questions, call toll-free:

877-4 LA VETS