Benefits, resources available to Veterans of OIF, Southwest Asia Theater of Operations | Beaufort County Now | Important benefits info

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March 20, 2022, marks the 19th anniversary of the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). This anniversary provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices of those who served in a conflict that lasted nearly nine years and claimed the lives of nearly 4,500 service members and left over 31,000 wounded. If you served in OIF, and have a disability or illness as a result, you may be eligible for VA benefits and services.

Additional presumptive conditions related to particulate matter exposure

Those who served in OIF, or the Southwest Asia Theater of Operations and other locations, may now be entitled to compensation for medical conditions presumed to be related to exposure to fine particulate matter.

Veterans and survivors who believe they may be eligible for compensation for asthma, rhinitis or sinusitis that emerged within a 10-year period after separation from military service are encouraged to file a claim for benefits.

Those who served in the following locations are presumed to have been exposed to particulate matter and may be entitled to the new presumption:

  • Southwest Asia Theater of Operations beginning August 2, 1990, to the present.
  • Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Syria or Djibouti beginning September 19, 2001, to the present.

The Southwest Asia Theater of Operations refers to these locations and the air space above them:

  • Iraq.
  • Kuwait.
  • Saudi Arabia.
  • The neutral zone between Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
  • Bahrain.
  • Qatar.
  • The United Arab Emirates.
  • Oman.
  • The Gulf of Aden.
  • The Gulf of Oman.
  • The Persian Gulf.
  • The Arabian Sea.
  • The Red Sea.

For more information on the new presumptive conditions, visit the Airborne Hazards and Burn Pit Exposures – Public Health page.

VA is committed to providing Veterans with the medical care, benefits and services they have earned. For the most up-to-date list of service-connected disabilities, please check Exposure To Specific Environmental Hazards | Veterans Affairs (va.gov).

File a disability claim

If you have an illness or condition related to particulate matter, exposure or any other 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. If you have additional questions about the claim process, visit VA.gov or call 1- 800-827-1000.

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


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