Were you injured while you were on active duty? Maybe you have a physical or mental illness caused by your time in service. This is called an in-service disability. Or maybe you had an illness or injury prior to your active-duty service and serving made it worse? This is often referred to as a pre-service disability. Maybe a disability appeared after you left active duty but is related to your time in service, referred to as a post-service disability.
The VA lists three categories of presumptive conditions. Presumptive conditions are presumed to be caused by your time in service. The three are: a chronic illness that appears one year after discharge, an illness caused by contact with contaminants or other hazardous materials and an illness caused by time spent as a prisoner of war (POW).
If any of these conditions apply, you should file a claim with the VA. You can file online, mail in, in person or with the help of a trained professional.
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Dr. Irene Dickerson is a retired Army Colonel living her best life in Big Sky Country.