VA Disability Ratings — Presumptive Conditions

If you’re a veteran with an injury or illness related to your military service, you may be eligible for disability compensation.

While typically, you would need to establish a clear link between your disability and your service, there are certain presumptive conditions that the Department of Veterans Affairs will not require you to prove.

This page provides an in-depth look at these presumptive conditions. We’ll cover what a presumptive service connection is, the VA presumptive list, and how to get help with your VA disability claim.

Have questions about your claim or whether you qualify for a presumptive condition? Contact our trained professionals at Vetus Legal today.

What Is Presumptive Service Connection?

To be eligible for VA disability compensation, you must prove that your injury or illness is related to your military service—this is called service connection.

Certain military veterans, however, are exempt from having to prove this. Instead, VA will presume that their military service caused the eligible condition.

VA Presumptive Service Conditions List

VA recognizes certain conditions as being related to military service when granting disability compensation and benefits.

These conditions are “presumptive service conditions” and are listed in the VA’s Code of Federal Regulations.

Here’s an overview of the VA presumptive list.

Chronic Conditions

Veterans that developed a chronic health condition, like diabetes or hypertension, within one year after being released from military service could be able to show that the condition developed during service based on a presumption – if that condition developed to a rating of at least 10% rating (severity) during that same year. This, however, does not guarantee that a current disability will be found to be related to service, which is a different, separate question VA must answer.

However, it is important to note that these are not legally “presumptive conditions.” A presumptive condition is one that VA presumes is related to military service if other conditions are met. Chronic conditions are those where VA does not presume that connection but rather presumes only in-service onset — but that is one step away from establishing that condition that exists today is related to that presumed-caused-during-service condition. It’s essential to remember this nuance.

Gulf War and Post 9/11 Veterans

Presumptive conditions for Gulf War and post-9/11 veterans depend heavily upon where and when they served. We’ll break this up into four sections.

Southwest Asia Theater of Operations, Afghanistan, Israel, Egypt, Turkey, Syria, or Jordan, During the Persian Gulf War

Veterans may be able to claim compensation for various injuries or illnesses, including:

  • A medically unexplained multi-symptom illness that has existed for more than six months, including:
    – Chronic fatigue syndrome
    – Fibromyalgia
    – Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Diagnosed or undiagnosed illnesses that warrant a presumption of service connection (by the discretion of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs)
  • Signs or symptoms of an undiagnosed illness such as:
    – Fatigue
    – Headaches
    – Skin problems
    – Muscle pain
    – Joint pain
    – Neurological symptoms
    – Neuropsychological symptoms
    – Upper or lower respiratory symptoms
    – Sleep problems
    – Gastrointestinal symptoms
    – Cardiovascular symptoms
    – Weight loss
    – Menstrual disorders

Vietnam Veterans

This list speaks to the places that veterans were presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange or other tactical herbicides (presumptive exposure). It does not establish that a disability will be presumptively service connected:

  • The Republic of Vietnam or on a vessel operating not more than 12 nautical miles seaward from the demarcation line of the waters of
  • Vietnam and Cambodia between Jan. 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975
  • Any U.S. or Royal Thai military base in Thailand from Jan. 9, 1962, through June 30, 1976
  • Laos from Dec. 1, 1965, through Sept. 30, 1969
  • Cambodia at Mimot or Krek, Kampong Cham Province from Apr. 16, 1969, through Apr. 30, 1969
  • Guam or American Samoa or in the territorial waters off Guam or American Samoa from Jan. 9, 1962, through July 31, 1980
  • Johnston Atoll or on a ship that called at Johnston Atoll from Jan. 1, 1972 through Sept. 30, 1977

However, one can prove actual exposure, not presumptive exposure, and get the benefit of the presumptive disabilities listed here. This list speaks to the disabilities that, if a veteran proves actual or presumptive exposure to Agent Orange or other tactical herbicides, will be presumptively service connected to that exposure:

  • AL amyloidosis
  • B-cell leukemia
  • Bladder cancer
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
  • Hodgkin’s Disease
  • Hypertension
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Ischemic heart disease (including but not limited to coronary artery disease and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease)
  • Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS)
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Parkinsonism
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Prostate cancer
  • Respiratory cancers
  • Soft-tissue sarcoma (not including osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, or mesothelioma)
  • Type 2 diabetes

Additionally, veterans can claim compensation for the following conditions if they become 10% or more disabling within the first year of exposure to an herbicide agent:

  • Acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy
  • Chloracne or other similar acneiform diseases
  • Porphyria cutanea tarda

Atomic Veterans Exposed to Ionizing Radiation

Atomic veterans exposed to ionizing radiation may be eligible for disability compensation if at least one of the following is true.

Do not forget, however, the nuances regarding presumptive exposure vs. presumptive service condition:

  • Participated in atmospheric nuclear testing
  • Occupied or were prisoners of war in Hiroshima or Nagasaki
  • Served before Feb. 1, 1992, at a diffusion plant in Paducah, Kentucky, Portsmouth, Ohio, or Oak Ridge, Tennessee
  • Served before Jan. 1, 1974, at Amchitka Island, Alaska
  • Served in the cleanup of Enewetak Atoll from Jan. 1, 1977, through Dec. 31, 1980
  • Served in the cleanup of the Air Force B-52 bomber carrying nuclear weapons off the coast of Palomares, Spain, from Jan. 17, 1966, through Mar. 31, 1967
  • Served in response to the fire onboard an Air Force B-52 bomber carrying nuclear weapons near Thule Air Force Base in Greenland from Jan. 21, 1968, through Sept. 25, 1985

If eligible, atomic veterans can seek compensation for disabilities including:

  • All forms of leukemia, except chronic lymphocytic leukemia
  • Cancer of the thyroid, breast, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, pancreas, bile ducts, gallbladder, salivary gland, urinary tract, brain, bone, lung, colon, or ovary
  • Bronchioloalveolar carcinoma
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Lymphomas, other than Hodgkin’s Disease
  • Primary liver cancer, except if there are indications of cirrhosis or hepatitis B

Southwest Asia Theater of Operations or in Afghanistan on or After Sept. 19, 2001

Veterans may be able to claim compensation for various injuries or illnesses, including:

  • The following infectious diseases that manifest within one year of separation to a degree of 10% or more:
    – Brucellosis
    – Campylobacter jejuni
    – Coxiella burnetii (Q fever)
    – Nontyphoid salmonella
    – Shigella
    – West Nile Virus
    – Malaria (or when accepted treatises indicate the incubation period began during a qualifying period of service)
  • Any of the following diseases that manifest at any time after separation to a degree of 10% or more:
    – Mycobacterium tuberculosis
    – Visceral leishmaniasis

Afghanistan, Djibouti, Syria, or Uzbekistan During the Persian Gulf War, From Sept. 19, 2001, to the Present or the Southwest Asia Theater of Operations from Aug. 2, 1990, to the Present

Veterans may be able to claim compensation for various illnesses including:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx
  • Squamous cell carcinoma of the trachea
  • Adenocarcinoma of the trachea
  • Salivary gland-type tumors of the trachea
  • Adenosquamous carcinoma of the lung
  • Large cell carcinoma of the lung
  • Salivary gland-type tumors of the lung
  • Sarcomatoid carcinoma of the lung
  • Typical and atypical carcinoid of the lung

On or after Sept. 11, 2001, in Afghanistan, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Uzbekistan, or Yemen, or If You served in the Southwest Asia Theater of Operations or Somalia on or After Aug. 2, 1990

Veterans may be able to claim compensation for various injuries or illnesses, including:

  • Brain cancer
  • Gastrointestinal cancer of any type
  • Glioblastoma
  • Head cancer of any type
  • Kidney cancer
  • Lymphatic cancer of any type
  • Lymphoma of any type
  • Melanoma
  • Neck cancer of any type
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Reproductive cancer of any type
  • Respiratory cancer of any type
  • Asthma that was diagnosed after service
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Chronic rhinitis
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Constrictive bronchiolitis or obliterative bronchiolitis
  • Emphysema
  • Granulomatous disease
  • Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD)
  • Pleuritis
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Sarcoidosis

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)/Lou Gehrig’s Disease

If you served in the military for more than 90 days and were diagnosed with ALS/Lou Gehrig’s Disease at any time after your service, you may be entitled to veterans’ disability compensation.

Former Prisoners of War

Former prisoners of war are eligible for disability compensation for specific conditions depending on their length of imprisonment.

For imprisonment of any length of time, veterans can claim compensation for:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Dysthymic disorder
  • Heart disease or hypertensive vascular disease
  • Organic residuals of frostbite
  • Osteoporosis (when you also have PTSD)
  • Post-traumatic osteoarthritis
  • Psychosis
  • Stroke and the residual effects

For imprisonment of more than 30 days, veterans can receive compensation for:

  • Avitaminosis
  • Berberi (and Beriberi heart disease)
  • Chronic dysentery
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Helminthiasis
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Malnutrition (including optic atrophy)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Other nutritional deficiencies
  • Pellagra
  • Peptic ulcer disease
  • Peripheral neuropathy

Average Disability Rating for Presumptive Conditions

Presumptive conditions are rated the same as other qualifying conditions. VA will assign your condition a disability rating from 0-100% disabling based on the severity of your injury or illness and its effect on your ability to function.

This rating will determine how much you will be compensated monthly for your injuries. The more disabling your injury, the more compensation you are entitled to.

While there aren’t available statistics on the average disability rating for presumptive conditions, VA’s most recent disability compensation reports showed that veterans received an annual payment of $20,686 or roughly $1,724 monthly on average.

Each case will be different, but to be certain you’re getting the maximum benefit for your injuries, you should contact an experienced VA disability lawyer today.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Apply for Presumptive Conditions?

Yes, you need an experienced VA attorney to apply for presumptive VA disability benefits.

Presumptive VA disability benefits are designed to compensate veterans with illnesses or conditions that are presumed to be related to their military service.

While the VA can provide some assistance in filing claims, they do not provide legal representation.

An attorney can help you:

  • Understand and navigate the VA system.
  • Gather the necessary evidence to support your claim.
  • Help you file appeals should your claim be denied.

If you need help with your VA disability claim, don’t wait to get the help you need. Contact our VA disability lawyers at Vetus Legal today to learn how we can help you fight for the benefits you deserve.