Our veterans risk their lives and make significant sacrifices when they serve our country. There are many benefits available to all veterans, but some are specific to those who served in Desert Storm.
1. Gulf War registry exam — Veterans who served in Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation New Dawn are eligible for this registry, which includes a free health exam, laboratory tests, and exposure history. Because the areas of the world where these missions took place have some unique environmental hazards, the registry helps veterans discover any related health concerns and respond to them quickly, says the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
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2. Presumptive Service Connection — According to Nolo, this is a provision from the VA that allows veterans to qualify for disability compensation without having to prove their illness or medical condition was caused directly by their military service. This provision is available to Gulf War vets because they were likely exposed to unique chemical hazards that could have long-term health effects that are not well-understood. Conditions that qualify for the Presumptive Service Connection include unexplained respiratory difficulties, menstrual irregularities, skin conditions, muscle soreness, chronic fatigue, and gastrointestinal disturbances.
3. Treatment for PTSD — Post-traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD can follow military combat as well as other life-threatening and stressful events, says Military.com. PTSD can manifest itself in ways that vary between individuals, but is usually characterized by anxiety, sleep disturbances, nightmares, and flashbacks. The VA offers evaluations and treatment for veterans who are suffering, as well as more than 200 specialized PTSD treatment programs.
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4. Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Services — The VA offers personalized counseling and career planning services that can help veterans make a successful transition to civilian life and provide for their families. Services include resume writing, interview preparation, help starting a business, job training, and coaching.
5. Specially Adapted Housing Grants — Veterans who have a service-related disability may qualify for grants to help modify existing homes or condos to make them accessible. According to Caring.com, these grants are also available for modifying cars or the homes of family members with whom the veteran lives.
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