American Statesman Staff
July 20, 2017
Waco VA office had the fourth-highest denial rate for Gulf War illness claims. Nationally, the VA denied 87 percent of Gulf War Illness related claims in 2015.
Department of Veterans Affairs benefits officials in Waco have denied a whopping 92 percent of claims related to Gulf War illness, giving Central Texas veterans one of the highest denial rates in the nation, according to data in a recent U.S. Government Accountability Office report.Persian Gulf War photo from the LBJ Library’s “American Soldier” exhibit.
The report found serious and persistent problems with how the VA handles the complicated Gulf War benefits claims, ranging from poorly trained examiners to inconsistent methods of handling claims in different regions of the country. For example, in the continental United States denial rates ranged from 47 percent in Boston to 95 percent in Roanoke, Va., according to an analysis by the advocacy group Veterans for Common Sense.
The VA estimates that 44 percent of the 700,000 service members who served in the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War have developed such symptoms as joint pain, chronic fatigue syndrome and neurological problems after returning home from war. The illnesses are believed to have been caused by exposure to toxic elements like smoke from burning oil wells, depleted uranium and chemical warfare agents such as mustard gas.
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