Exposure to contaminants or environmental hazards poses a major health concern for Veterans of all eras. If you served in Iraq, Afghanistan or other areas and believe you were exposed to hazardous materials – including particulate matter, burn pits and others – disability compensation and other VA benefits for related illnesses or conditions may be available for you.

New presumptive conditions

In 2021, VA began processing service-connected disability claims for six new presumptive conditions related to exposure to hazardous materials. Veterans who were exposed to particulate matter when serving in the Southwest Asia theater of operations, Afghanistan, Syria, Uzbekistan and/or Djibouti and developed asthma, sinusitis or rhinitis within 10 years of military service may now be eligible for disability benefits and VA health care.

File a disability claim

If you have an illness or condition related to military environmental exposure, we encourage you to file a claim. For more information on how to file a VA disability claim, click here.

If you were previously denied service connection for any of the new conditions but had symptoms manifest within 10 years of military service, you will need to file another claim. Be sure to use VA Form 20-0995, “Decision Review Request: Supplemental Claim” when filing. The claim form should include the name of the diagnosed medical condition and specify that the medical condition is due to military environmental exposure. If you have additional questions about the claim process, visit VA.gov or call 800-827-1000.

If you are concerned about exposures during your military service, you should also talk to your health care provider and apply for VA health care. Once enrolled, VA will work with you to understand your health concerns and connect you with the care and services you need.

To learn more visit www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/hazardous-materials-exposure/.

By Bryan Lett is a USMC Veteran and public affairs specialist for VBA’s Office of Strategic Engagement

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Published on Feb. 15, 2022

Estimated reading time is 1.5 min.

Views to date: 3,432


  1. Ray Ponthieux March 7, 2022 at 10:05 pm

    “. . . within 10 years of military service may now be eligible for disability benefits and VA health care.” Please provide the VA regulation or statue that requires one to be within 10 years of military service when applying an Agent Orange presumptive. I cannot find where this alleged requirement is actually true. I have noted that the VA continues to post this requirement which I believe a mistake. Please show where I am wrong if that is true. However, if I am correct, please stop publishing bad information. Thank you.

  2. Leonard Mosher February 23, 2022 at 7:54 am

    I tried. Flew on C-130 all over the middle east, Europe and Africa. Got injected with all kinds of i.munizations for the areas traveled. Talked to aVA and got rejected for filing for disability.

    • Jason February 26, 2022 at 2:04 pm

      1)its all about the wording.
      2)yes they deny and bank on your frustration
      3)they do back pay to initial application date.
      I’m a service connected veteran and I’ll happily help you & any other veteran for free.

  3. G.L. February 22, 2022 at 8:47 pm

    Over 600 military bases are listed on the Environmental Superfund Cleanup list and some of these facilities have been operating since WW1.
    The $64,000 question is: Why aren’t all veterans exposed to extremely toxic contaminants and/or diseases forced to be ignored, untreated and die?
    Camp Lejuene may be receiving widespread attention, but it is not the worst on the long list.
    Fort Ord was the 1st Superfund Site and for reasons still unclear to me, the unbelievable disgusting contamination was never revealed to afflicted veterans or their families.

  4. Will n February 22, 2022 at 8:14 pm

    Gulf war syndrome / non service connected. Not no record or diagnoses, non service connected, yes i worked for NATO team Iraq and mnc-i but I’ve had a lot of issues where i have combat related injury’s and illnesses and there not service connected.

  5. Daniel Hull February 17, 2022 at 3:49 pm

    Interesting, I was stationed at Camp Lejeune from 1982 to 1985. In 2012, some 25 years after the fact, the Marine Corps release findings that I was grossly poisoned for years upon years from contaminated well water. Liver complications, spinal degradation and significant mental deterioration now. Difficult even to see a doctor at the VA, it is called deferred medical attention. The VA banks on the fact that one day I will die and simply go away.

  6. Bob D February 16, 2022 at 3:31 pm

    I tried, instant rejection! Both Gulf War and Toxic Base.

Comments are closed.

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