Section E. Claims Based on Service in Southwest Asia



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Section E. Claims Based on Service in Southwest Asia

Overview




In This Section

This section contains the following topics:




Topic

Topic Name

1

Developing Claims Based on Southwest Asia Service

2

Examinations in Claims Based on Southwest Asia Service



1. Developing Claims Based on Southwest Asia Service




Introduction

This topic contains information on developing Southwest Asia claims, including


  • action to take when the Veteran alleges exposure to environmental hazards but claims no disability

  • initial development action on a new Southwest Asia service claim

  • an exhibit of the Section 5103 notice letter attachment for Southwest Asia claims

  • verifying Southwest Asia service using DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty

  • requesting service department records in a Southwest Asia claim

  • requesting medical evidence in claims under 38 CFR 3.317, and

  • considering whether to clarify or corroborate lay statements



Change Date

November 5, 2015



a. Action to Take When the Veteran Alleges Exposure to Environmental Hazards but Claims No Disability

A claim is not substantially complete if a Veteran alleges exposure to environmental hazards during service, but does not identify the medical condition or symptom for which service connection (SC) is claimed. In cases such as these


  • inform the Veteran that he/she must identify a specific disability, since exposure in and of itself is not a disability, and

  • ask the Veteran to identify the disability(ies) that resulted from exposure to environmental hazards during service.


Important:

  • Do not process the claim as a denial.

  • Whenever possible, telephone the Veteran to obtain the information needed to substantiate the claim.


References: For more information on

  • substantially complete claims and handling an incomplete claim, see M21-1, Part I, 1.B.1, and

  • claims due to specific environmental hazards in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other military installations, see

  • M21-1, Part IV, Subpart ii, 2.C.5, and

  • M21-1, Part IV, Subpart ii, 1.I.



b. Initial Development Action on a New Southwest Asia Service Claim

When preparing the Section 5103 notice for any new claim for SC for a qualifying disability under 38 CFR 3.317 resulting from service in Southwest Asia


  • use the Gulf War special issue paragraphs in the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS) to request

  • record(s) of the earliest manifestation of the illness

  • dates of service in Southwest Asia, if not already of record, and

  • information on whether the Veteran participated in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Gulf War Registry Health Examination, and

  • ensure that the VBMS attachment, “Submitting Evidence for Claims About Gulf War Undiagnosed Illnesses,” is enclosed.





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