The VA is exploring options to extend the current presumptive deadline for filing for undiagnosed illnesses related to service in the Middle East.
To piggyback on Audrey’s earlier post on this subject, veterans should be highly motived to receive a diagnosis, or un-diagnosis, as in this case. Currently, your condition must rise to a compensable level in order to be “presumed” to have been caused by exposure to mystery elements in the Middle East. If it does not rise to this level of severity (at least 10% Disability Rating), you will be SOL.
Why is this important?
To illustrate, let’s look at Mr. Pete Veteran. Let’s say Pete has some kind of condition noted in his current VA records. But, the condition is not noted in his Military records. If Pete’s condition is currently severe enough to only warrant a 0% rating but gets worse after December 31, 2011, this veteran will be out of luck. As time progresses, his condition will likely get worse, but he would not qualify for disability benefits unless the presumptive holds.
Let’s look at Clint Billybob Veteran. Clint decided to not see a doctor about his fybromyalgia or chronic fatigue while in the military. He has also not seen a doctor about the condition after getting out. Suddenly, after December 31, 2011, his condition gets so bad that he cannot work.
Guess who’s screwed? Not the executives from GE or Goldman Sachs, all who seem to magically benefit from war. No, Clint is the one who is screwed along with all the small businesses that could have used Clint’s help as a worker had he not chosen to enlist in the military.
Two hypos distilled.
Notice what’s going on in these two hypothetical examples. Both veterans failed to get their conditions diagnosed while they were in the service. The beauty of the presumptive is that it allows the veteran to receive “service-connection” for the injury or illness despite the condition NOT being recorded in their Service Medical Records. This is huge.
Once you, the veteran, are outside of the presumptive window, the window literally closes unless you find a medical professional willing to document your condition after the fact. This is hard to do.
DO NOT WAIT. We were all exposed to a myriad of crazy pathogens, dusts and other chemicals while in the military. God only knows what will happen as we get older. Just look at the progression of Agent Orange (AO). And it took those poor Vietnam veterans years to get a full listing of all the ailments caused by AO exposure.
Don’t be a sucker. Get your conditions looked at immediately. No one knows if the VA will successfully extend the presumptive window to 2018, as is proposed. I learned long ago to never rely on my government to do the right thing. They will do their thing, whatever that is.
There are some blogs, including my own, that help with the disability process and documentation. Here is mine and a couple others I like with free information that has helped thousands of veterans: