A report released June 2017 revealed the VA denies 4 of 5 disability claims for veterans claiming disability for Gulf War illness despite evidence showing over 40 percent suffer from it.
The Government Accountability Office released a report analyzing Gulf War Illness (GWI) claims of veterans from 2010 to 2015. Of the 102,000 claims received, VA only approved 18,000. A rate less than 20 percent.
What GAO Found
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) completed processing about
11,400 Gulf War Illness (GWI) claims in fiscal year 2015, which was more
than double the 4,800 claims processed in fiscal year 2010. GWI is a
collective term for certain medical conditions among veterans who have
served in Southwest Asia since 1990. Symptoms of GWI can include joint
pain, gastrointestinal problems, fatigue, and neurological problems. On
average, GWI claims have twice as many medical issues per claim as
other disability claims, and take 4 months longer to complete. During
fiscal years 2010 through 2015, the most recent data available at the time
of our review, approval rates for GWI claims were about three times lower
than for all other claimed disabilities. Several factors may contribute to
lower approval rates, including that—according to VA—GWI claims are
not always well understood by VA staff and veterans sometimes file for
benefits without medical records to adequately support their claim.
From my perspective, a push for this behavior is the same that we have seen to this day regarding Agent Orange. The VA seems determined to keep a lid on everything that has a percentage attached to it as far as veterans who are injured are concerned. Denying all of this keeps them from having to give money to veterans that they have rightfully earned through their service and the promise that we were all given that the, “VA will be there to take care of you if you get hurt,” while we were signing up as teenagers to go fight in Iraq and Afghanistan or any war that has resulted in injured veterans.