Beginning August 2, 2021, chronic asthma, sinusitis, and rhinitis are presumed to be connected to service in Southwest Asia, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Syria, and Djibouti. VA presumes veterans who served in these areas were exposed to harmful particulate matter. For veterans of these conflicts who develop chronic asthma, sinusitis, or rhinitis within 10 years of their service, VA will presume the conditions are connected to the veteran’s service. This removes the typical requirement that a medical expert opine the condition is as likely as not related to the veteran’s service. The presumption acts similarly to the well-known Agent Orange presumptions. If a veteran served in these areas during the applicable time period and developed asthma, sinusitis, or rhinitis within 10 years of service, the veteran’s condition should be service-connected and eligible for a disability rating.
The new rule applies to veterans who served in the Southwest Asia theater of operations since August 2, 1990 or Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Syria or Djibouti from September 19, 2001 to present. The Southwest Asia theater of operations includes 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 and the airspace above these locations.
If you are a veteran of these conflicts and VA’s denied your claim for asthma, sinusitis, or rhinitis, please contact us so we can review your claim file.