Brain X-Ray

Gulf War Presumptives

Legally reviewed by Brendan Garcia , Owner and Lead Attorney


Obtaining VA disability benefits for Gulf War Presumptives is more difficult than it should be. The very term “presumptive” makes it seem like service connection should be automatic, but unfortunately, for many veterans, VA regulations make the process difficult and time-consuming. Gulf War Presumptives include a number of health conditions that the VA presumes were caused by military service in the Southwest Asia theater of operations. A dedicated VA disability lawyer can help you receive the benefits you’re entitled to if your claim has been denied or your appeal deadline is approaching.

If you are one of the many veterans whose VA disability claim for a Gulf War-connected disability was recently denied, ensure that you hire an experienced veteran’s benefits lawyer. In 2010, Congress passed the landmark Claims Resolution Act, which provides veterans with entitlement to disability compensation from the VA for specific disabilities presumed to be related to Gulf War service. In addition, new disabilities including sinusitis, rhinitis, and asthma were added as presumptive conditions, and many expect the VA to add additional disabilities in the future. You are entitled to these benefits; let us help you secure the money that you deserve.


Congress intended to speed up the claims process with the presumptive conditions list through the Claims Resolution Act. They also believed that many veterans’ disabilities could potentially be connected to their service in the Southwest Asia theater of operations, making them eligible for automatic disability entitlement under the new act.

Other reasons include:

  • The VA does not have reliable information on the health effects of exposure to hazardous materials because it failed to conduct an ongoing health study.
  • There is insufficient research on the specific causes and effects of many illnesses and diseases associated with Gulf War service.
  • Veterans and their survivors had been experiencing long delays in receiving benefits decisions for conditions that clearly had a known basis.
  • The VA has a moral obligation to ensure that veterans and their survivors receive the benefits they are entitled to immediately after service.


The following medical conditions are presumed to be service-connected if they develop in a veteran who served on active duty in the Southwest Asia theater of operations during the Gulf War:

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • A medically unexplained chronic multisymptom illness, sometimes referred to as a MUCMI. Symptoms often include fatigue, skin symptoms, headaches, muscle pain, joint pain, neurological or neuropsychological symptoms, respiratory symptoms, sleep disturbances, gastrointestinal symptoms, cardiovascular symptoms, weight loss, and menstrual disorders.
  • Sinusitis (added in 2021)
  • Rhinitis (added in 2021)
  • Asthma (added in 2021)


To be considered a Gulf War veteran for purposes of establishing presumptive service connection, you must have served on active duty in the Southwest Asia theater of operations or in Afghanistan.


Does The VA Acknowledge Gulf War Syndrome?

No. The term Gulf War Syndrome has been controversial since it first appeared in the news media. It was often used to refer to veterans’ illnesses presumed to be related to service during the first Persian Gulf War.

However, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) stopped using the term Gulf War Illness (GWI) to describe the chronic symptoms Gulf War veterans developed after returning home. The VA now uses the term MUCMI, which stands for a medically unexplained chronic multisymptom illness. The term is a bit misleading because the VA also recognizes some diagnosed conditions, including IBS, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia, and beginning in 2021, sinusitis, rhinitis, and asthma.

Who Qualifies As A Gulf War Veteran?

A Gulf War veteran is simply a former service member who served in the Southwest Asia theater of operations at any point from August 2, 1990 to the present. The VA does not consider service in Afghanistan to be in the Southwest Asia theater of operations for the purpose of presumptive service connection for MUCMIs, but the VA does include Afghanistan service for the purpose of establishing presumptive service connection for the three new disabilities added in 2021 (asthma, rhinitis, and sinusitis).

How Do You Prove A Disability Is Service-connected?

If you meet the qualifications of a Gulf War veteran and you suffer from one of the presumptive conditions, then one of the most difficult aspects of proving service connection is automatic in the sense that the diagnosis is already presumed to be linked to your service. In most other cases, however, you must show (a) an illness, injury, or other event during active duty service, (b) a current disability, and (c) a connection, or medical nexus, between (a) and (b).

At VetLaw, we understand that the VA’s decisions are often difficult to understand and that filing an appeal is not an easy task. We only practice one type of law; we are here to help veterans and their families appeal decisions at all levels, whether denied at a Regional Office or the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. Get in touch with us today to schedule a free case evaluation.


A VA Disability Lawyer’s role is to assist you throughout the confusing and often frustrating claim appeals process if you have received a denial of benefits for Gulf War Presumptives. Generally, you need to be denied at least once before an attorney can assist, but once a lawyer is involved they will often be able to quickly determine what needs to be done in order to prove entitlement.

If your Gulf War Presumptives claim has received a denial, be sure to contact the Veteran Disability Appeals Attorneys at VetLaw right away to help make sure you get the entitlement you deserve.