Gulf War Illnesses (GWI) and Social Security Benefits

What is Gulf War Illness? And, how can it relate to filing for Social Security Disability Benefits? Gulf War Illness is a debilitating array of symptoms experienced by roughly 30% of Operation Desert Storm deployed U.S. forces. The symptoms can include unexplained widespread pain, fatigue, cognitive problems, skin rashes, and gastrointestinal and respiratory issues. These are caused by chemical exposures during the war, such as pesticides, anti-nerve gas pills and possibly also sarin nerve gas exposure.

Scientists are making a great deal of progress studying GWI. It has now been affecting our veterans for 25 years.  The scientists are able to see the lasting, chronic effects of the Illness. They have also been studying why GWI affects some veterans, and not others. They have found that some veterans have individual genetic abilities to process deployment-related chemical exposures than those with a different genetic make-up.

Right now, Social Security does not recognize Gulf War Illness as a disability on its own. However, do not let that discourage you from applying. If your combination of symptoms, or impairments prevent you from working, you could still be awarded benefits. There are other similar multi-symptom illnesses that Social Security does recognize, such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, to which Gulf War Illness has been compared.

We all owe a debt to our brave veterans who have protected our freedom. Unfortunately, our freedom comes at high price, which is being paid by very few. We appreciate your service.

Please call one of our Hoglund, Chwialkowski & Mrozik, PLLC attorneys today and let them answer your questions.

By Stacey Backlund

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