VA has recognized certain diseases as related to ionizing radiation exposure during military service. Veterans may be eligible for disability compensation and health care for these diseases. Their survivors also may be eligible for survivors' benefits.
For Veterans who participated in a radiation-risk activity during service (including "Atomic Veterans"), VA assumes that certain cancers are related to their exposure. We call these "presumptive diseases."
These Veterans don't have to prove a connection between these diseases and their service to be eligible for disability compensation. Their survivors also may be eligible for survivors' benefits if the Veteran dies as the result of one of these diseases.
VA recognizes that the following diseases are possibly caused by exposure to ionizing radiation during service:
Eligibility for disability compensation or survivors' benefits depends on how much radiation the Veteran received and other factors, such as the period of time between exposure to radiation and the development of the disease. VA decides these claims on a case-by-case basis.
VA also will consider the possibility that other diseases not listed above were caused by radiation, if supported by medical or scientific evidence. To be eligible for compensation, VA must be able to establish that it is at least as likely as not that a Veteran’s disease was caused by his/her exposure to radiation during military service.
VA presumes amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) diagnosed in all Veterans who had 90 days or more continuous active military service is related to their service, although ALS is not related to radiation exposure.