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Can I Get Benefits With My Health History?


I am a gulf war vet, served in Dhahran from Nov-May. I was National Guard and got activated for the war, so after I came home I went back to being a guardsman(woman). I got an honorable discharge in 2006. Like so many others, I suffered from Gulf War syndrome and it has continued to this day. I never really pursued getting treatment or compensation for it because it was widely believed to be "all in our heads". Through the years I went to various private doctors for various ailments, but never tried to link them to Gulf War Syndrome. I have had pneumonia 5 times, bronchitis more times than I can count (every cold turns into bronchitis), my gallbladder stopped working and had to be removed, I have aching joints, chronic tiredness (not sleepiness), IBS, nausea/dizziness, wake up feeling unrested, PTSD, and on and on. Nothing that is extremely debilitating, I have a full time job with the federal government, but I have not spent a day without pain. It's like background noise to me after all these years.

In 1996 or 1997 I went to the VA outpatient clinic and complained of having Gulf War Syndrome. They began to conduct an interview with me. They asked me questions such as "Do you believe you were exposed to chemical weapons", etc. My reply was the same for each question, since my first reply was yes and the doctor immediately began grilling me for specifics, which I couldn't produce. So every question was answered with "Do you think the government would have told me if I was?" It ended in a stalemate. I refused to give a direct answer because it was very plain to see that the VA thought Gulf War Syndrome was simply battle stress. I never went back to the VA after that.

I have never seen a doctor for my aching joints, chronic fatigue, PTSD and sleep issues. So there is no record of that anywhere.

Should I pursue a claim for my "unexplained illnesses" AKA Gulf War Syndrome? Or am I just out of luck since I have never seen a doctor for many of my issues? Thank you.

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This is a difficult one to say yes or no !

The problems

No treatment records to speak of is going to be the single biggie.

You will need to somehow get a qualified doctor to write an opinion (IMO) saying that the problems/conditions are at least as likely as not related to or caused by your military service.

You can make a claim at any time. The longer you wait the harder it is to be successful.

The VA does have a responsibility to help you with the claim. Unfortunately, they often seem to be more interested in finding excuses to delay and deny.

At least you are working. Many with the problems you mention are not, or cannot earn a significant income.

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The short answer is no. You dont get benefits for "health history"...you get benefits for a current diagnosis of a condition related to service.

Absent a "current diagnosis" you wont get benefits. To get benefits you need 3 things:

1. An inservice event or accident.

2. A current diagnosis

3. A nexus between the two.

If you havent been to the doc about these maladies, you wont have a diagnosis.

If you are seeking benefits for these, the first thing you need to do is get a diagnosis by a doc. Then you need a nexus. IN some circumstances AO presumptives will satisfy number 1 above.

Hope this helps.

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