VA Presumptive List

Topics:

Chronic Diseases Diagnosed After Discharge
Tropical Diseases
Prisoners of War
Veterans Exposed to Herbicides (Agent Orange)
Veterans Exposed to Radiation
Gulf War Veterans
Mustard Gas and Lewisite Exposure
Veterans Exposed to Contaminated Camp Lejeune Water

In order to qualify for VA Disability, a condition must be service-connected. But what if a serious condition develops that doesn’t fulfil the normal requirements for service-connection? Enter the VA Presumptive List.

Conditions that cannot be proved service-connected are denied benefits. Over time, however, the VA began noticing patterns in the types of conditions to develop in veterans who had served in similar circumstances. In other words, a significant number of vets who served in the same place at the same time developed similar conditions in a similar time frame.

Since these conditions were not diagnosed while in the military or do not meet the other requirements for service-connection, they technically cannot be considered service-connected. With the number of vets developing these conditions, however, the VA decided that the evidence was too solid to be coincidental. Military service likely caused those conditions. So, the VA created their VA Presumptive List.

The VA “presumes” that any condition on the VA Presumptive List was caused by military service even though there may be no medical reasoning that definitively proves this connection.

The VA Presumptive List basically states that if veterans who served in X location/circumstances during certain years developed Y or Z conditions, then those conditions will be automatically considered service-connected. No proof is needed beyond documents showing that the vet was indeed in that location/circumstance at that time.

All veterans are required to have served at least 90 days of active, continuous service for their conditions to qualify unless it is specifically noted otherwise below.

All conditions on the VA Presumptive List will be considered service-connected UNLESS there is clear evidence indicating that it was not caused by service. For example, a brain hemorrhage that develops within 1 year after leaving the military is normally presumed connected. If, however, the brain hemorrhage was caused by injury to the head from a car accident 3 months after discharge, then it is not service-connected.

Some of the conditions on the VA Presumptive List are required to be a certain seriousness within a certain amount of time (i.e. “manifest to at least 10% within 1 year of exposure”). This means that the condition must meet the requirements for a 10% rating under its code within 1 year of exposure.

For example, if a vet exposed to Agent Orange develops the skin condition porphyria cutanea tarda, the condition must manifest to 10% within 1 year of the last date of exposure. Porphyria cutanea tarda is a condition that causes blisters to form. It is rated under code 7815. To qualify for a 10% rating under this code, the blisters must cover between 5 and 20% of the skin. If less than 5% of the skin is affected within the 1-year period, then the condition does not qualify and is not considered service-connected.

For conditions that have these time restrictions, there may be cases where the condition is not officially diagnosed until after the time limit. If there is enough medical proof to show that the symptoms required for a 10% rating were present before the time limit even though the condition had not been officially diagnosed, it does still qualify.

Many of these conditions are not in the VASRD and so have to be rated analogously on the condition that is closest. The codes we’ve listed are the most likely codes for these conditions to be rated under, but they are not the only option. The Rating Authorities may choose a different code depending on the exact symptoms.

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VA Presumptive List of Chronic Diseases Diagnosed After Discharge

If any of the following chronic diseases are manifest to 10% or more within the first year (there are a few exceptions noted below) after a vet is discharged from the military, then they are automatically considered caused by military service and eligible for VA Disability.

The term “chronic” is used loosely here. Any of these diseases will be considered chronic unless it was suddenly caused by something clearly not related to military service.

There are quite a few of these diseases on the VA Presumptive List, so we’ve organized them by body system. Just click on the code number to be taken to a discussion about the disease and how it is rated.

The Blood

Cardiovascular System

  • Arteriosclerosis, code 7005
  • Hypertension, code 7101
  • Endocarditis, code 7001
  • Valvular heart disease, code 7000
  • Raynaud’s syndrome, code 7117
  • Buerger’s disease, code 7115

Digestive System

  • Gallstones, code 7314
  • Cirrhosis of the liver, code 7312
  • Gastric ulcer, code 7304
  • Duodenal ulcer, code 7305

Endocrine System

Genitourinary System

  • Calculus of the bladder, code 7515
  • Kidney stones, code 7508
  • Nephrosclerosis, code 7507
  • Nephritis, code 7502

Infectious or Immune Diseases

  • Hansen’s disease (a.k.a. Leprosy), code 6302 (must manifest to 10% within 3 years)
  • Lupus, code 6350
  • Tuberculosis (must manifest to 10% within 3 years)

Mental Disorders

Musculoskeletal System

  • Arthritis, degenerative, code 5003, or rheumatoid, code 5002
  • Osteitis deformans (Paget’s disease), code 5016
  • Osteomalacia, code 5014

Nervous System

  • Progressive Muscular Atrophy, code 8023
  • Brain hemmorrhage, code 8009
  • Brain thrombosis, code 8008
  • Encephalitis, code 8000
  • Any form of Epilepsy
  • Myasthenia gravis, code 8025
  • Myelitis, code 8010
  • Bulbar palsy, code 8005
  • Parkinson’s disease, code 8004
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), code 8017 (can develop any time after discharge and qualify unless it is caused by vet’s wilful misconduct)
  • Multiple Sclerosis, code 8018 (must manifest to 10% within 7 years)
  • Syringomyelia, code 8024
  • Malignant cancer of the brain, code 8002
  • Malignant cancer of the spinal cord, code 8021
  • Malignant cancer of the nerves, code 8540
  • Any other “organic” Nervous System Diseases, like Huntington’s Disease or Athetosis. “Organic” basically means that it is not caused by an outside force, like a bacteria, virus, or similar.

Respiratory System

  • Bronchiectasis, code 6601
  • Coccidioidomycosis, code 6835
  • Sarcoidosis, code 6846

The Skin

  • Collagen-vascular disease, code 7821
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VA Presumptive List of Tropical Diseases

If a veteran served in a tropical location and later developed a tropical disease known to come from that location, it can be considered service-connected as long as it manifests to 10% within 1 year of serving in the tropical location.

Now some of these diseases have incubation periods (the time between infection and the manifestation of symptoms). If the disease is medically known to have such a lengthy incubation period that the symptoms don’t begin until after the 1-year limit, it is still considered service-connected.

  • Amebiasis, code 7321
  • Blackwater fever, code 6329
  • Cholera, code 6300
  • Dracontiasis, code 6320
  • Dysentery, code 7322
  • Filariasis, code 6305
  • Leishmaniasis, code 6301
  • Loiasis, code 6320
  • Malaria, code 6304
  • Onchocerciasis, code 6320
  • Carrion’s disease, code 6306
  • Pinta, code 6310
  • Plague, code 6307
  • Schistosomiasis, code 6320
  • Yaws, code 6310
  • Yellow fever, code 6329
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VA Presumptive List for Prisoners of War

Prisoners of War (POWs) get the following conditions regardless of how long they were on active service. The 90-day rule does not apply. The only factor that determines qualification is the length of time imprisoned. For some conditions, the vet must have been a POW for at least 30 days. For the rest of the conditions, the vet simply must have been a POW for any length of time.

The following conditions qualify once they manifest to at least 10% at any time after discharge.

Any length of imprisonment:

  • Any Psychotic Disorder
  • Any Anxiety Disorder
  • Chronic depression, code 9433
  • Residuals of frostbite, code 7122 (must have been imprisoned in a cold enough place)
  • Degenerative arthritis caused by trauma, code 5003
  • Atherosclerotic heart disease, code 7005
  • Hypertensive heart disease, code 7007
  • Stroke, codes 80078008, or 8009
  • Osteoporosis, code 5013 (must be after October 10, 2008, and the vet must have diagnosed PTSD.)

Imprisonment of 30 days or more:

  • Avitaminosis, code 6313
  • Beriberi, code 6314
  • Chronic dysentery, code 7322
  • Helminthiasis, code 6320
  • Pellagra, code 6315
  • Any other Nutritional Deficiency
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome, code 7319
  • Peptic Ulcer Disease, codes 7304 or 7305
  • Peripheral neuropathy (unless caused by infection not related to service)
  • Cirrhosis of the liver, code 7312
  • Osteoporosis, code 5013 (must be after September 28, 2009. No PTSD requirement here, though.)
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VA Presumptive List for Veterans Exposed to Herbicides (Agent Orange)

The herbicide Agent Orange was used in both Vietnam and Korea during the 60s and 70s.

Vietnam Veterans who served between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975 are presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange (unless there is solid evidence that they were not) if they served:

  • In Vietnam (this includes all veterans that had boots on the ground, even if only for a short time)
  • On ships included on the Ship List 
  • In Blue Waters within 12 nautical miles of the shores of Vietnam

Korean Veterans who served in the Korean DMZ between April 1, 1968 and August 31, 1971 are presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange (unless there is solid evidence that they were not).

Additionally, veterans who served on contaminated C-123s after the war also qualify as having been exposed to Agent Orange (see the VA’s list of Air Force Speciality Codes and Units for specifics on C-123 qualifications).

Other veterans exposed to Agent Orange can qualify if they can show proof that they

  • served on or near military bases in Thailand during the Vietnam Era
  • served where herbicides were tested or stored outside of Vietnam
  • were involved in the testing, storage, or disposal of herbicides in the US

Any length of service is enough to qualify—the 90-day rule does not apply to vets exposed to Agent Orange.

The following conditions qualify if they manifest at any time to any degree unless otherwise specified.

  • Primary amyloidosis, code 7717
  • Chloracne or similar acneform disease, code 7829 (must manifest to 10% within 1 year of last exposure)
  • Type 2 diabetes, code 7913
  • Hodgkin’s disease, code 7709
  • Ischemic heart disease, code 7005 (does NOT include high blood pressure, peripheral vascular disease, or stroke)
  • All chronic B-cell leukemias, code 7703
  • Multiple myeloma, code 7709 or 7703
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, code 7715 (Blue Water Veterans eligible for this condition)
  • Parkinson’s disease, code 8004
  • Peripheral neuropathy (must manifest to 10% within 1 year of last exposure)
  • Porphyria cutanea tarda, code 7815 (must manifest to 10% within 1 year of last exposure)
  • Prostate cancer, code 7528
  • Lung cancer, code 6819
  • Bronchial cancer, code 6819
  • Larynx cancer, code 6819
  • Trachea cancer, code 6819
  • Adult fibrosarcoma, code 5329
  • Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans, code 5329
  • Malignant fibrous histiocytoma, code 5329
  • Liposarcoma, code 5329
  • Leiomyosarcoma, code 5329
  • Epithelioid leiomyosarcoma (malignant leiomyoblastoma), code 5329
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma, code 5329
  • Ectomesenchymoma, code 5329
  • Angiosarcoma (hemangiosarcoma and lymphangiosarcoma), code 5329
  • Proliferating (systemic) angioendotheliomatosis, code 5329
  • Malignant glomus tumor, code 5329
  • Malignant hemangiopericytoma, code 5329
  • Synovial sarcoma (malignant synovioma), code 5329
  • Malignant giant cell tumor of tendon sheath, code 5329
  • Malignant schwannoma, code 5329
  • Malignant mesenchymoma, code 5329
  • Malignant granular cell tumor, code 5329
  • Alveolar soft part sarcoma, code 5329
  • Epitheliod sarcoma, code 5329
  • Clear cell sarcoma of tendons and aponeuroses, code 5329
  • Extraskeletal Ewing’s sarcoma, code 5329
  • Congenital and infantile fibrosarcoma, code 5329
  • Malignant ganglioneuroma, code 5329
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VA Presumptive List for Veterans Exposed to Radiation

Veterans who qualify as being exposed to radiation include vets who did one of the following while in the military:

  1. participated in onsite nuclear testing, including presence at the test site, on ships, aircraft or equipment in support of the nuclear test, at the nuclear test site within 6 months after the test, or participated in the decontamination of equipment used during a nuclear test
  2. was within 10 miles of Hiroshima or Nagasaki between August 4, 1945 and July 1, 1946
  3. was a prisoner of war in Japan within 75 miles of Hiroshima or 150 miles of Nagaskai, worked within those areas, or were repatriated through the port of Nagasaki between August 6, 1945 and July 1, 1946
  4. was monitored with a dosimetry badge for radiation exposure on the grounds of a gaseous diffusion plant in Paducah, KY, Portsmouth, OH, or K25 at Oak Ridge, TN for at least 250 days before February 1, 1992
  5. performed a job with as much exposure as a dosimetry badge monitor on the grounds of a gaseous diffusion plant in Paducah, KY, Portsmouth, OH, or K25 at Oak Ridge, TN for at least 250 days before February 1, 1992
  6. was exposed to radiation from underground nuclear tests on Amchitka Island, AK before January 1, 1974
  7. served in the garrison or maintenance forces at Eniwetok from June 21, 1951 to July 1, 1952 or August 7, 1956 to August 7, 1957 or November 1, 1958 to April 30, 1959

The following conditions qualify if they are manifest at any time to any degree:

  • Leukemia, code 7703 (any except chronic lymphocytic leukemia)
  • Thyroid cancer, code 79017902, or 7919
  • Breast cancer, code 7627
  • Pharynx cancer, code 7343
  • Esophageal cancer, code 7343
  • Stomach cancer, code 7343
  • Small intestine cancer, code 7343
  • Pancreatic cancer, code 7343
  • Multiple myeloma, either code 7709 or 7703
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphomas, code 7715
  • Bile duct cancer, code 7343
  • Gallbladder cancer, code 7343
  • Primary liver cancer, code 7343 (except if there is cirrhosis or hepatitis B)
  • Salivary gland cancer, code 7343
  • Genitourinary cancer, code 7528
  • Bronchiolo-alveolar carcinoma, code 6819
  • Bone cancer, code 5012
  • Brain cancer, code 8002
  • Colon cancer, code 7343
  • Lung cancer, code 6819
  • Ovarian cancer, code 7627
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VA Presumptive List for Gulf War Veterans

The VA Presumptive List for Gulf War veterans is divided into three: Gulf War Syndrome, Multi-Symptom Illnesses, and Infectious Diseases.

The first list is by far the most ambiguous.

Gulf War vets began developing seemingly random, unconnected chronic symptoms that do not comprise a single identifiable diagnosis. Because of this, the term “Gulf War Syndrome” was coined to mean a group of unrelated, but disabling, symptoms that many Gulf War veterans developed after serving in Southwest Asia. If a clinical diagnosis can be made, then the symptoms do NOT constitute Gulf War Syndrome.

To be included under the heading of Gulf War Syndrome, each symptom must be present or reoccurring for at least 6 months (“chronic”), and cannot be tied to service outside Southwest Asia or be caused by the vet’s misconduct.

If Gulf War Syndrome is diagnosed before discharge, then those symptoms are service-connected. If, however, the symptoms do not develop until after discharge, then those symptoms can qualify as long as they manifest to 10% before December 31, 2021.
 
Gulf War Syndrome symptoms can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Skin symptoms
  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain
  • Neurological symptoms
  • Mental symptoms
  • Respiratory symptoms
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Cardiovascular symptoms
  • Abnormal weight loss
  • Menstrual disorders
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms

Visit our Gulf War Syndrome page for specifics on rating qualifying symptoms.

The second list covers Multi-Symptom Conditions with no known cause. These are conditions that present a much higher level of disability than is medically justified due to lack of clinical findings to explain the severity of symptoms. Conditions with known or partially-known causes do not qualify.

Like with Gulf War Syndrome, these conditions must be chronic and manifest to 10% before December 31, 2021.

Multi-Symptom Illnesses include:

  • Fibromyalgia, code 5025
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, code 6354
  • Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (like irritable bowel syndrome, functional dyspepsia, functional constipation, etc.)

For the final list, veterans who develop one of the following infectious diseases qualify if they served in Southwest Asia or Afghanistan after September 19, 2001, unless there is sufficient evidence that the disease was not related to service.

All diseases must be manifest to 10% within 1 year of the last date of service in Southwest Asia or Afghanistan unless otherwise noted.

  • Brucellosis, code 6316
  • Campylobacter jejuni, code 6630
  • Coxiella burnetii (Q fever), code 6331
  • Malaria, code 6304 (must be manifest to 10% within 1 year or the incubation period must have clearly begun while in Southwest Asia or Afghanistan)
  • Tuberculosis (no time limit for manifestation)
  • Nontyphoid salmonella, code 6333
  • Shigella, code 6334
  • Visceral leishmaniasis, code 6301 (no time limit for manifestation)
  • West Nile Virus, code 6335

Many of these infectious diseases can cause other symptoms or conditions to develop over time. If a Gulf War veteran who qualifies for one of the above infectious diseases develops one of the following symptoms tied to that disease, it can also qualify for VA Disability. The symptom must, however, develop within the time specified below or, if no time is specified, be satisfactorily connected to the infectious disease by a medical authority.

Brucellosis:

  • Arthritis, code 5002
  • Infections of the CardiovascularNervous, or Respiratory systems
  • Chronic meningitis and meningoencephalitis, code 8019 or 8000
  • Deafness, code 6100
  • Demyelinating meningovascular syndromes, code 8014
  • Episcleritis, code 6017
  • Fatigue, inattention, amnesia, and depression
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome, code 8011
  • Hepatic abnormalities, including granulomatous hepatitis, code 7345
  • Multifocal choroiditis, code 6011
  • Myelitis-radiculoneuritis, code 8010
  • Nummular keratitis, code 6001
  • Papilledema, code 6026
  • Optic neuritis, code 6026
  • Infections of the Genitourinary System
  • Sensorineural hearing loss, code 6100
  • Spondylitis, code 5240
  • Uveitis, code 6000

Compylobacter jejuni:            

  • Guillain-Barre syndrome, code 8011 (must manifest within 2 months of the infection)
  • Reactive Arthritis, code 5002 (must manifest within 3 months of the infection)    
  • Uveitis, code 6000 (must manifest within 1 month of the infection)

Coxiella burnetii:

Malaria:

Tuberculosis:

  • Active tuberculosis
  • Tissue damage from pulmonary and active tuberculosis (rated on the damaged tissue)

Nontyphoid Salmonella:

  • Reactive arthritis, code 5002 (must manifest within 3 months of infection)

Shigella:

  • Hemolytic-uremic syndrome, code 7732 (must manifest within 1 month of infection)
  • Reactive arthritis, code 5002 (must manifest within 3 months of infection)

Visceral Leishmaniasis:            

  • Dermal leishmaniasis, code 7807 or 7808 (must manifest within 2 years of infection)
  • Reactivation of visceral leishmaniasis, code 6301

West Nile Virus:

  • Various physical, functional, or cognitive disability
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VA Presumptive List for Mustard Gas and Lewisite Exposure

A veteran qualifies under this category if they can prove full-body exposure to mustard gas (sulphur or nitrogen) or Lewisite while on active duty in one or more of the following ways:

  • during field or chamber testing
  • during battlefield conditions in WWI
  • during the German air raid on Bari, Italy in WWII
  • during the manufacturing or handling of these compounds

If the veteran qualifies, then the following conditions are considered service-connected.

Mustard gas:

  • chronic conjunctivitis, code 6018
  • keratitis, rated analogously under code 6001
  • corneal opacities, rated analogously under code 60016009, or 6027
  • scars (must clearly be from exposure)
  • nasopharyngeal cancer, code 6819
  • laryngeal cancer, code 6819
  • lung cancer (except mesothelioma), code 6819
  • squamous cell carcinoma, code 7818
  • chronic laryngitis, code 6516
  • chronic bronchitis, code 6600
  • chronic emphysema, code 6603
  • asthma, code 6602
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, code 6604
  • acute non-lymphocytic leukemia, code 7703 (nitrogen mustard only)

Lewisite:

  • chronic laryngitis, code 6516
  • chronic bronchitis, code 6600
  • chronic emphysema, code 6603
  • asthma, code 6602
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, code 6604

The key to this presumptive list is the ability to prove exposure. Unfortunately, proper record keeping regarding mustard gas exposure, especially for service members used for testing, was incredibly bad, so the majority of exposure cases were not sufficiently recorded.

Because of this, the VA has a few things in place to help veterans prove exposure. The first is a database of all the names they could compile of service members involved in testing. Again, because of the bad record keeping, this list is far from complete. After receiving a claim, they will check to see if the veteran is on this list. If they are, then that is sufficient to prove exposure. If, however, they are not, then details of the veteran’s case are forwarded to the Deployment Health Directorate for review and determination of exposure. The Directorate has the final say on whether or not the evidence is sufficient to prove exposure.

To make sure that the Directorate has all the information needed to make a proper determination, include the following in your VA Disability Claim:

  • number of exposures
  • length of exposures (20 minutes, 2 hours, etc.)
  • dates of exposures (month and year)
  • location of exposure
  • your assigned unit at the time of exposure
  • type of exposure (full body, skin patch, etc.)
  • detailed cause of exposure (deployed warfare exposure, test involvement, etc.)
  • procedures followed before, during, and after exposure (including any medical treatment received after exposure)
  • immediate effects (blistering, difficulty breathing, etc.) and residual effects (development of one of the above conditions, etc.) of exposure.
  • disabilities caused by exposure, including the dates of their development
  • any medical records or other records that show proof of exposure
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VA Presumptive List for Veterans Exposed to Contaminated Camp Lejeune Water

If a veteran (including reservists and National Guard members) served at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987 and later developed one of the following diseases, it will be considered service-connected as of March 14, 2017.

  • Kidney cancer, code 7528
  • Liver cancer, code 7343
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, code 7715
  • Adult leukemia, code 7703
  • Multiple myeloma, code 7709 or code 7703
  • Parkinson’s disease, code 8004
  • Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes, code 7716
  • Bladder cancer, code 7528
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