If you’re a veteran that has been out of the service one year or less, there are many conditions automatically included on the VA’s list of presumptive conditions.
When applying for VA disability benefits, a major part of the claims process is proving a service connection.
Certain conditions are presumptive. This means that the VA automatically presumes your impairment stems from service without requiring evidence of a direct connection. There are a lot of conditions that are presumptive if they show up in your first year out of the service. This can make it easier to get VA benefits, so let’s take a look at what they are.
40 Presumptive Conditions for First-Year Veterans
- Conditions That Are Presumptive For First-Year Veterans
- 1. Anemia, Primary
- 2. Arteriosclerosis
- 3. Arthritis
- 4. Atrophy, Progressive Muscular
- 5. Brain Hemorrhage
- 6. Brain Thrombosis
- 7. Bronchiectasis
- 8. Calculi of the Kidney, Bladder, or Gallbladder
- 9. Cirrhosis of the Liver
- 10. Coccidioidomycosis
- 11. Diabetes Mellitus
- 12. Encephalitis Lethargica Residuals
- 13. Endocarditis
- 14. Endocrinopathies
- 15. Epilepsies
- 16. Hansen’s Disease
- 17. Hodgkin’s Disease
- 18. Leukemia
- 19. Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic
- 20. Myasthenia Gravis
- 21. Myelitis
- 22. Myocarditis
- 23. Nephritis
- 24. Other Organic Diseases of the Nervous System
- 25. Osteitis Deformans (Paget’s Disease)
- 26. Osteomalacia
- 27. Palsy, Bulbar
- 28. Paralysis Agitans
- 29. Psychoses
- 30. Purpura Idiopathic, Hemorrhagic
- 31. Raynaud’s Disease
- 32. Sarcoidosis
- 33. Scleroderma
- 34. Sclerosis, Amyotrophic Lateral
- 35. Multiple Sclerosis
- 36. Syringomyelia
- 37. Thromboangiitis Obliterans (Buerger’s Disease)
- 38. Tuberculosis
- 39. Tumors, Malignant, or of the Brain, Spinal Cord or Peripheral Nerves
- 40. Peptic Ulcers (Gastric or Duodenal)
- Apply for VA Disability Benefits Today
Conditions That Are Presumptive For First-Year Veterans
If you experience symptoms related to any of the below conditions in your first year out of service, you could be eligible to receive VA disability benefits.
Note that for your condition to be designated as service-connected and on the presumptive list, it must be rated higher than a 10% disability. Whenever possible, laboratory findings should be used to corroborate the clinical data.
1. Anemia, Primary
Anemia is a condition in which your body cannot supply enough healthy red blood cells to supply the full amount of oxygen that your body tissues need.
Key symptoms of anemia include a constant feeling of weakness or fatigue. You may also notice shortness of breath, dizziness, and chest pain. People suffering from anemia may also exhibit pale skin and cold extremities.
Arteriosclerosis, or Atherosclerosis, is the thickening and hardening of your artery walls. It occurs when fat, cholesterol, or other substances build up around your arteries, restricting blood flow.
Symptoms include chest pain and shortness of breath. Sometimes, this condition is asymptomatic. You might not realize you have arteriosclerosis until the plaque near your arteries ruptures, which can lead to a dangerous clot.
Researchers have linked this condition to PTSD in veterans.
Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more of your joints. This can lead to tenderness, pain, and stiffness.
The most common type is osteoarthritis, which develops in response to wear and tear on your joint’s cartilage. Rheumatoid arthritis is a different disease with similar symptoms, occurring when your immune system attacks your joints.
According to the CDC, more than one in three veterans suffer from arthritis. This is linked to the increases in traumatic and overuse injuries that can occur in service.
4. Atrophy, Progressive Muscular
Progressive muscular atrophy is a disease that primarily affects your body’s lower motor neurons. It is a related condition to ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), which affects the upper and lower neurons.
You might first notice weak arms and clumsiness in your hands, which can lead to more severe muscle weakness.
5. Brain Hemorrhage
A brain hemorrhage is a form of stroke. It occurs when a blood vessel in your brain ruptures, which can cause localized bleeding in the adjacent tissues.
Many brain hemorrhages can be traced back to a traumatic brain injury (TBI), but high blood pressure can also be a contributor. Symptoms include difficulty walking or speaking, as well as facial numbness and weakness.
Research shows that PTSD can increase the risk of stroke in young veterans.
6. Brain Thrombosis
Also called cerebral thrombosis, this condition occurs when a blood clot forms in your brain’s cerebral vein. This vein is responsible for draining blood from your brain, so a clot can cause blood to collect there instead.
When this happens, blood can leak into the surrounding brain tissues, leading to severe brain swelling or hemorrhage.
Bronchiectasis is a form of damage that occurs to the bronchial tubes in your lungs, causing them to become thicker and wider. This condition causes bacteria and mucus to pool up around your lungs, which can infect and block your airways.
Common symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing up yellow or green mucus. Severe infections can lead to chills and fever.
8. Calculi of the Kidney, Bladder, or Gallbladder
This category covers any form of the cardiovascular-renal disease, including hypertension. Specifically, this term applies to any combined involvement of the following:
- Organic heart disease
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is an early symptom that long precedes the development of the diseases listed above. If you have disabling hypertension within the 1-year period, you can receive the same benefit of service connection as any of the chronic diseases above.
9. Cirrhosis of the Liver
Several conditions can lead to cirrhosis, or scarring, of the liver. These include hepatitis and chronic alcoholism. Symptoms of this late-stage disease include fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, easy bleeding, and weight loss. It can eventually heighten your risk of developing liver cancer.
Also called Valley Fever, this condition is a bodily infection caused by the fungus coccidioides, which is found in desert soil. It’s most commonly attributed to inhaling dust containing fungal spores.
Most outbreaks occur in the southwestern United States, as well as Mexico and Central and South America. While most people are asymptomatic, some infected persons will develop flu-like symptoms.
11. Diabetes Mellitus
Diabetes Mellitus is a metabolic disease characterized by high blood sugar.
The insulin hormone responsible for moving sugar from your blood into your cells (where it can be used for energy) isn’t sufficient when this condition is present. Either your body can’t use the insulin it makes, or it can’t create enough on its own.
Symptoms of diabetes include increased thirst and increased urination, as well as unexplained weight loss and fatigue. Among veterans, diabetes is most prevalent among those 65 and older.
12. Encephalitis Lethargica Residuals
While the exact causes behind this condition are uncertain, Encephalitis Lethargica Residuals is an autoimmune response that triggers high fever, double vision, delayed responses, and headaches.
In severe cases, it can cause patients to enter a coma.
The term “endocarditis” covers all forms of valvular heart disease. This condition is an inflammation of the inner lining of your heart, called the endocardium. It usually happens when an infection occurs elsewhere on your body, allowing germs to enter your system and travel to areas of your heart.
Anyone with damaged or artificial heart valves is at a heightened risk of developing endocarditis.
Here one of our VA disability lawyers goes over the questions Woods and Woods, The Veteran’s Firm, is often asked about veterans’ disability claims and appeals.
Endocrinopathies are any disease of the endocrine gland. The most common ones are hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism is a deficiency of the thyroid hormone. It can lead to slowed metabolism, fatigue, and weight gain. Conversely, hyperthyroidism is the excessive production of this hormone, which can lead to nervousness, mood swings, and sleep disruptions.
Epilepsies are chronic neurological disorders. When they occur, they cause clusters of neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to deliver abnormal signals, which can cause seizures.
While this condition can be a genetic disorder, it can also occur after a brain injury, such as trauma or a stroke. Traumatic brain injury is the leading form of head trauma in veterans. If a TBI causes epilepsy, it’s referred to as Post-Traumatic Epilepsy.
16. Hansen’s Disease
Hansen’s Disease is also called leprosy. This is a chronic but curable disease caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae.
In addition to external skin lesions, this condition can also lead to nerve damage. It can affect your eyes and nose, including the inner lining of your nasal passages. Symptoms include discolored patches of skin, skin nodules, and painless ulcers.
17. Hodgkin’s Disease
Hodgkin’s Disease is a form of lymphoma. It is a blood cancer that originates in your lymphatic system.
As the disease worsens, it can limit your body’s ability to fight even minor infections. As a result, lymph nodes around your body may swell, including those in your armpits, neck, and groin.
Talk to Us About Your Claim: (866) 232-5777
Leukemia is a cancer of your blood-forming tissues. It’s characterized by an abundance of white blood cells in your body. Over time, these white blood cells overcrowd the red blood cells and platelets that help keep your body healthy.
While you may not notice any symptoms at first, aggressive forms of leukemia can lead to fatigue, frequent infections, and easy bleeding.
19. Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic
This is an autoimmune disease that causes your immune system to attack its own tissues. The most common form of lupus, system lupus erythematosus (SLE), can cause pain and swelling in your joints, fatigue, and headaches.
You may also notice a rash on your cheeks and nose called a “butterfly rash”. Lupus tends to flare up periodically and then improve.
20. Myasthenia Gravis
Myasthenia Gravis, or MG, is a neuromuscular disorder. It disrupts communication between your nerve cells and your muscles, which can cause your skeletal muscles to weaken.
Some of the most common symptoms include facial weakness in the eyes and mouth. This can lead to double vision and make it difficult to talk or chew.
Myelitis refers to inflammation of your spinal cord. If you suffer from this condition, it can disrupt the ability to send messages from your brain to the rest of your body.
Initially, you may feel mild numbness or a tingling sensation in your arms and legs, but this feeling can quickly give way to extreme muscle weakness and even paralysis.
Myocarditis is inflammation that occurs in the middle layer of your heart wall called the myocardium. Usually caused by a viral infection, it can cause your heart to weaken, which can eventually lead to heart failure or sudden death.
Symptoms can include chest pain, shortness of breath, and an abnormal heartbeat.
Nephrons are the functional units of your kidneys. Nephritis is a condition in which these units become inflamed, which can limit your overall kidney function.
Usually caused by an infection or exposure to a toxin, nephritis is also linked to a range of autoimmune disorders that affect the major organs. Acute symptoms include pelvic pain, pain while urinating, and cloudy or bloody urine.
Here are some tips on your C&P exam from one of our VA disability lawyers.
24. Other Organic Diseases of the Nervous System
Organic diseases of the nervous system include migraine headaches, glaucoma, and cranial nerve conditions, among others. All of these can affect your memory and impair your ability to perform day-to-day activities.
25. Osteitis Deformans (Paget’s Disease)
Paget’s Disease is a chronic bone disorder that can cause your bones to grow abnormally large and become deformed. It originates when your bone tissue breaks down and reforms excessively.
Over time, this can cause your bones to weaken, resulting in bone pain, fractures, and arthritis.
The most prominent characteristic of osteomalacia is a severe softening of your bones. Usually caused by a vitamin D deficiency, it can affect the bone-maturing process in children and young adults. In adults, it can lead to frequent bone fractures.
Other conditions that cause osteomalacia include Celiac disease and certain surgeries, as well as certain liver and kidney disorders.
27. Palsy, Bulbar
Bulbar palsy covers a range of conditions that impair the function of your cranial nerves. High brain stem tumors can be a contributing factor, as can head injuries, motor neuron diseases, and toxin exposure.
Symptoms include difficulty swallowing, weakened facial muscles, and progressive speech loss.
28. Paralysis Agitans
A less common term for Parkinson’s Disease, Paralysis Agitans is a central nervous system disorder that can lead to muscle tremors and negatively affect movement.
It occurs when nerve cells in the brain are damaged, which can cause dopamine levels to decline. Symptoms usually begin as tremors in one hand but can significantly progress into movement and coordination loss.
Psychoses are mental disorders that affect your ability to connect with reality. They are caused by a range of health conditions, as well as mediation and drug use.
Symptoms can include hallucinations, delusions, and agitation. Studies show that a large number of veterans suffer from psychiatric problems, including psychoses.
30. Purpura Idiopathic, Hemorrhagic
This is an immune disorder that causes your blood to not clot properly. It is also referred to as immune thrombocytopenia, or ITP, and is linked to a low blood platelet count.
Symptoms include excessive bruising and bleeding, as well as purple spots on your legs.
31. Raynaud’s Disease
This condition causes your extremities to become cold or numb in response to stress or temperature changes. The blood vessels temporarily spasm, which restricts blood flow. Often, your skin will also change color if these triggers are present.
This condition is usually caused by extreme spells of stress and anxiety or exposure to very cold temperatures.
Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease that affects multiple organs in your body. It most often affects your lungs and lymph nodes, as well as your eyes and skin.
Symptoms include fatigue and swollen lymph nodes, as well as weight loss and joint pain.
Scleroderma is a chronic disease that affects your connective tissue. One of the most noticeable symptoms is a visible hardening and tightening of your skin.
Scleroderma can cause skin discomfort, joint pain, and heartburn. Raynaud’s Disease is also recognized as a symptom.
34. Sclerosis, Amyotrophic Lateral
Also called ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, this is a progressive disease that attacks your central nervous system.
As it worsens, ALS causes your nerve cells to break down, which can lead to severe muscle weakness and loss of movement. Veterans are at a higher risk of developing ALS due to environmental exposures during service.
One of our VA disability lawyers goes over the Agent Orange Presumptive Conditions list in this video:
35. Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis affects your central nervous system. It causes your immune system to attack your body and destroy protective nerve coverings.
Usually, vision impairment is one of the first signs of MS. It can develop into a debilitating condition for some, or remain mild in others. Chronic sufferers may experience mobility problems, cognitive issues, and muscle weakness.
This is a rare disorder that causes fluid-filled cysts, or syrinxes, to form on your spinal cord. You may feel tightness in your neck and back, as well as stiffness in your legs. You may also experience decreased sensations in your extremities.
Trauma can cause syringomyelia, as can meningitis and spinal cord tumors.
37. Thromboangiitis Obliterans (Buerger’s Disease)
Buerger’s Disease causes blood clots to form in your small and medium-sized arteries, such as your hands and feet. Often linked to smoking, this condition can also develop genetically.
Symptoms include fingers and toes that appear pale and feel cold, as well as sharp, shooting pain in your hands and feet.
Tuberculosis is a serious bacterial infection primarily isolated to your lungs. Symptoms include a cough, fever, weight loss, and night sweats. If your condition is active, you’ll feel these symptoms in your daily life.
Most people with tuberculosis take medication and are isolated for months to eradicate the bacteria. This can increase PTSD issues in new veterans.
39. Tumors, Malignant, or of the Brain, Spinal Cord or Peripheral Nerves
This section covers tumors that affect your brain, spinal cord, or peripheral nerves. These tumors can cause several health issues, including persistent headaches, nausea, and weakness. “Malignant” means that these tumors are cancerous, and most require intensive surgery.
40. Peptic Ulcers (Gastric or Duodenal)
A peptic ulcer is a sore that develops on your stomach lining.
Note that a proper diagnosis of a peptic ulcer is found if it represents a medically sound interpretation and includes clinical findings warranting such diagnosis. The diagnosis should also be clear and the evidence should separate it from other conditions with symptoms.
Talk to Us About Your Claim: (866) 232-5777
Apply for VA Disability Benefits Today
These are the 40 conditions that are presumptive for veterans in their first year out of service. Do any of the symptoms sound familiar?
If you believe that you could be suffering from any of the above issues, you could be eligible to receive VA disability benefits. Contact our team today to learn more.