Over the past century, there have been countless instances in which servicemembers participated in compromising military operations or resided at unsafe facilities. When such populations overwhelmingly develop similar diseases or medical conditions, the VA relies upon “presumptive conditions” to expedite a veteran’s access to necessary disability benefits.
Nevertheless, complications and impediments are par for the course with seeking financial aid from the Department of Veterans Affairs, which is why the accredited veterans disability lawyers at Dolman Law Group, PA want to help. Whether you need advice and counsel in devising a successful strategy or assistance in navigating the complex appeals process, we will be with you every step of the way.
If you are currently contemplating contracting a VA-accredited attorney to assist you in the complexities of the disability claims process, consider scheduling a free consultation with us today by calling our offices at (727) 451-6900 or by filling out a contact form here at our website.
What Are Presumptive Conditions in Veterans Disability Claims?
Presumptive conditions are illnesses or impairments that the VA has concluded are causally linked to an individual’s time in service. The Department of Veterans Affairs typically requires that a claimant both establish a service connection and produce medical evidence to substantiate his disability benefits claim.
However, the government has determined, over the years, that certain illnesses or impairments are undeniably linked to specific military operations, service locations, and periods of time. In order to streamline the processing of voluminous claims, the VA relies upon presumptive conditions.
When a veteran files a claim alleging the development of a presumptive condition(s), he does not need to establish a service connection. Nevertheless, the VA still requires extensive evidence to satisfy the standards of presumptive condition claims, like proof of residence and sufficient medical documentation.
PACT Act Introduces Additional Presumptive Conditions for Select Veterans Disability Claims
In August 2022, Congress ratified the Sergeant First Class (SFC) Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act. The legislation, subsequently signed into law by President Biden, drastically transformed the VA disability benefits assessment process by introducing nearly two dozen additional presumptive conditions and expanding the service sites associated with them.
For veterans who served in the Gulf War, Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, and/or resided at Camp Lejeune, the PACT Act simplified otherwise dense bureaucratic and procedural obstacles and increased the likelihood that they could get the compensation they deserved. The monumental bill also assisted the VA, permitting it to process over 450,000 claims within one year of its ratification.
Presumptive Conditions for Major Areas of VA Disability Benefits Law
There are various military operations and/or facilities for which the federal government has promulgated lists of presumptive conditions. Varying in duration, era, and location, they encompass service-connected injuries sustained across large swaths of the globe and throughout the greater part of the twentieth century.
Claimants struggling with severe presumptive conditions associated with the following specialized areas of VA disability benefits law should consider speaking with a qualified veterans claims lawyer today:
Camp Lejeune VA Presumptive Conditions
From the early 1940s to the late 1980s, service members, reservists, guardsmen, civilian personnel, and their families might have been exposed to toxic chemicals in the water supply of the North Carolina military installation, Camp Lejeune. Now, the victims are seeking compensation for the severe injuries they sustained.
Although the PACT Act establishes a legal pathway through the Department of the Navy to acquire settlements from the federal government and/or file a lawsuit, it also updated the presumptive condition list for Camp Lejeune toxic chemical exposure. For claimants seeking disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs, they must adduce adequate medical documentation to prove they suffer from:
- Adult leukemia
- Aplastic anemia
- Multiple myeloma
- Parkinson’s disease
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Bladder cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
Pursuing a Camp Lejeune administrative claim with the DON and/or filing a Camp Lejeune lawsuit against the government does not disqualify a veteran from applying for or receiving disability benefits. However, the Department of Justice has signaled that it intends to offset individual settlement figures with the amount of disability compensation a litigant or claimant receives.
Presumptive Locations and Conditions for Burn Pit and Airborne Hazards
In an effort to dispose of waste from extensive operations, the American military commonly made use of burn pits from the 1990s and well into the 2000s. The practice led to the emission of highly toxic fumes which countless veterans inhaled, threatening their safety and, with time, their livelihoods.
The VA, pursuant to congressional legislation, relies upon a list of presumptive conditions to streamline the assessment of disability benefits claims from veterans who, on or after 9/11, served in:
- Surrounding airspaces
Common presumptive conditions for burn pit airborne hazards exposure include:
- Brain cancer
- Gastrointestinal cancer(s)
- Kidney Cancer
- Chronic bronchitis
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Ionizing Radiation Exposure Presumptive Conditions
The PACT Act introduced a set of new locations where veterans were at risk of developing presumptive conditions connected to exposure to ionizing radiation. The VA relies upon the National Archives’ Code of Federal Regulations to determine the eligible diagnoses, which include:
- Thyroid cancer
- Breast cancer
- Lung cancer
- Skin cancer
As of August 2022, veterans who might have a sustained dangerous level of ionizing radiation exposure at Enewetak Atoll, Palomares, Spain, and Thule Air Force Base may be eligible to receive fast-tracked disability benefits from the VA, depending on the period of time during which they served.
Additional Presumptive Locations and Conditions
In recent years, the VA and Congress have made concerted efforts to revitalize the disability claims process for the victims of serious military mishaps. Using over 200 presumptive conditions in total, the Department of Veterans Affairs provides aid to those who suffer from PCs associated with:
- Captivity as a prisoner of war (POW)
- Agent Orange exposure
- Tropical diseases
- Persian Gulf service
- Gulf War Syndrome
- Mustard gas exposure
- Lewisite exposure
- Asbestos exposure
Dolman Law Group’s Experienced Veterans Disability Lawyers
Although presumptive condition disability benefits requirements are lower than those for typical claims with the VA, the process of preparing and filing the necessary paperwork, and subsequently waiting for a decision can be grueling. On top of that, there is no guarantee that the VA will accept your claim or offer the rating you deserve.
At Dolman Law Group, PA, we believe that every servicemember and his or her family deserve support when a serious presumptive condition jeopardizes their lives and livelihoods. That is why our qualified veterans disability lawyers are ready to help.
When it comes to completing Supplemental Claims or Higher-Level Review requests, the expertise of a personal injury law firm with over 120 years of combined experience and a proven track record of getting clients the compensation they deserve may be crucial. We can assist you in devising and executing a successful strategy, collecting evidence, and submitting compelling VA appeals documents which increase your chances of getting available disability benefits – and soon.
Fusing our core personal injury experience with institutional knowledge, Dolman Law Group provides the resources and heft of a nationwide practice with the individualized treatment and attention absolutely crucial for success. We also work on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay unless we successfully attain compensation for you.
Contact Dolman Law Group for Help With Your Veterans Disability Lawsuit
Deciding to recruit a veterans disability lawyer is no easy task. Choosing one is no less overwhelming. With ubiquitous advertisements and a constant flood of information, distinguishing between the champions and the charlatans can prove as frustrating as dealing with the complex bureaucratic procedures of the VA.
Consequently, Dolman Law Group, PA provides free consultations for prospective clients so that they can understand the services our firm offers and make a fully informed decision about how best to proceed.
The VA appeals process is an exhausting ordeal, which is why the sooner you speak with a local VA-accredited attorney, the sooner you can get the disability benefits you deserve. If you are currently suffering from a presumptive condition and have encountered difficulty in getting compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs, consider contacting us at (727) 451-6900 to schedule an initial consultation.