Gulf War Illness: Additional Actions Needed to Improve VA's Claims Process, Statement of Melissa Emrey-Arras, Director, Education, Workforce, and Income Security, Testimony Before the Subcommittees on Oversight and Investigations and Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs, Committee on Veterans' Affairs, House of Representatives   [open pdf - 449KB]

"I am pleased to be here today to discuss our recent report on the process the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) uses to evaluate Gulf War Illness disability compensation claims. VA estimates that among the nearly 700,000 veterans who served in the Persian Gulf War in 1990-1991, about 44 percent experience chronic medical issues commonly referred to as Gulf War Illness. There are no similar VA estimates of the prevalence of Gulf War Illness among veterans who were deployed to the region after 1991. According to the Department of Defense, however, these veterans may have also been exposed to certain environmental hazards and many have developed similar medical issues upon their return. The exact causes of Gulf War Illness are not always known and veterans' symptoms vary widely, but include fatigue, headaches, joint pain, indigestion, insomnia, respiratory disorders, skin problems, and memory impairment, among others. VA refers to claims for Gulf War Illness as 'undiagnosed illness,' 'medically unexplained chronic multisymptom illness,' and 'infectious disease' claims."

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Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/
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