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VA processing disability claims for respiratory conditions related to particulate matter

Military Exposures & Your Health: Information for Veterans who servedthe gulf war era and their families

On Aug. 2, 2021, VA began processing disability claims for asthma, rhinitis, and sinusitis based on presumed exposure to particulate matter. This applies to Veterans who served in the Southwest Asia theater of operations beginning August 2, 1990, to the present, or Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Syria, or Djibouti beginning September 19, 2001, to the present, and whose conditions came about within 10 years of military service.Asthma Inhaler (Source: National Institutes of Health)

Veterans who participated in the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry assisted with this process. The information from this registry and claims data were taken into consideration in the decision-making for these 3 conditions.

We encourage you, if you have symptoms suggestive of the 3 conditions, such as a chronic cough or ongoing runny nose and sinus congestion, to request an evaluation by a health care professional to make a diagnosis and to file a claim if your condition fits with the presumptive conditions.

You can file a claim by filling out VA Form 21-526EZ, if you are applying for the first time or VA Form 20-0995, if you are reapplying for these conditions. In addition, you can visit or call toll free at 800-827-1000 for more information. VA is also reaching out to impacted Veterans and survivors to inform them about their eligibility and provide information on how to apply for benefits.

What is particulate matter? Examples include:

  • Material emitted from a source like smoke from burn pits or unpaved roads
  • The product of chemical reactions from industrial air pollution
  • Sand, dust and exhaust from diesel and other internal combustion engines
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