Gulf War veterans qualify for every benefit available to all military veterans, but some are specific to those who served in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. These veterans served in Kuwait, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and other areas in the Middle East.
The benefits may include compensation for disabilities or illnesses suffered by Gulf War vets who served in the military from Aug. 2, 1990, to July 31, 1991, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. More than 650,000 vets served in the military conflict in total.
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Here are seven benefits Gulf War vets may not know about:
1. Undiagnosed illnesses — Gulf War veterans can receive disability compensation for a variety of illnesses, according to the VA. These conditions include sleep disturbances, psychological or neurological problems, respiratory disorders, muscle and joint pain, abnormal weight loss, heart disease, headache, menstrual disorders, and skin conditions. They are sometimes referred to as “Gulf War Syndrome.” Chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia are other illnesses covered.
2. Infectious diseases — Vets are eligible for disability benefits for certain infectious illnesses no matter when the symptoms occur, according to Nolo. These diseases include mycobacterium tuberculosis and visceral leishmaniasis, a type of fever. Conditions covered while in service or within a year after leaving the military include West Nile virus, salmonella, shigella, and others.
3. Social Security disability — Gulf War vets can receive Social Security disability benefits if they can’t work because of a medical condition. They can collect both Social Security disability and VA compensation together.
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4. Gastrointestinal disorders — Disability benefits are also available for gastrointestinal disorders that are unexplained. Chronic or recurrent disorders include irritable bowel syndrome, abdominal pain syndrome, bloating, constipation, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal disorders.
5. Long-term care — Gulf War vets are eligible for VA benefits available to all vets. This includes the Aid and Attendance program that covers assisted-living programs, nursing homes, and other long-term care programs, according to Military Benefits.
6. Mortgage assistance — Vets who can’t make their mortgage payments may benefit from repayment aid from the VA. The program includes loan modification plans and loan forbearance.
7. Healthcare — The Gulf War Registry Health Exam is offered free to Gulf War vets so the VA can better understand their health problems stemming from military service, explains the Joye Law Firm in South Carolina. Vets may also be eligible for healthcare and vocational rehabilitation for service-connected disabilities and illnesses.
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