Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses

VA offers health registry exams, health care, disability compensation and other benefits to eligible Gulf War Veterans.  Their dependents and survivors also may be eligible for benefits.


VA Provides

Gulf War Veterans may be eligible for:

  • Gulf War Registry Health Exam, a free exam for possible long-term health problems associated with Gulf War service during the 1990-1991 Gulf War, Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation New Dawn.  You don't need to be enrolled in VA health care to take part.

  • Health care, a full range of medical benefits.

Medically Unexplained Illnesses

A prominent condition affecting Gulf War Veterans is a cluster of medically unexplained chronic symptoms that can include fatigue, headaches, joint pain, indigestion, insomnia, dizziness, respiratory disorders, and memory problems.  VA refers to these illnesses as "chronic multisymptom illness" and "undiagnosed illness", not "Gulf War Syndrome" because the symptoms vary   widely.




Military Service Connection

Gulf War Veterans who meet the criteria do not need to prove a connection between their military service and illnesses in order to receive VA disability compensation.


VA presumes certain chronic, unexplained symptoms existing for 6 months or more are related to Gulf War service without regard to cause.  These "presumptive" illnesses must have appeared during active duty in Southwest Asia or by December 31, 2016, and must be at least 10% disabling.




Presumptive Illnesses Include:

  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a condition of long-terms and severe fatigue that is not relieved by rest and is not directly caused by other conditions.

  • Fibromyalgia, a condition characterized by widespread muscle pain. Other symptoms may include insomnia, morning stiffness, headache, and memory problems.

  • Functional gastrointestinal disorders, a group of conditions marked by chronic or recurrent symptoms related to any part of the gastrointestinal tract.  Functional condition refers to an abnormal function of an organ, without structural alteration in the tissues.  Examples include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), functional dyspepsia, and funtional abdominal pain syndrome.

  • Undiagnosed illnesses, with symptoms that may include: abnormal weight loss, fatigue, cardiovascular disease, muscle and joint pain, headache, neurological and psychological problems, etc.