VA issued the following guidance on August 2, 2021. Please read the below message and go to this website for more details. VA to start processing disability claims for certain conditions related to particulate matter
Effective August 5, 2021, claim adjudicators will begin processing disability claims for asthma, rhinitis and sinusitis on a presumptive basis related to exposure to particulate matter in the Southwest Asia theater and other areas. To be eligible for presumption, a Veteran must meet the following basic entitlement criteria:
- Has manifested chronic asthma, chronic rhinitis and/or chronic sinusitis, to include rhinosinusitis, within 10 years of separation from the last period of military service; and
- Served any length of time in the Southwest Asia theater of operations, as defined in 38 CFR §3.317(e), beginning on August 2, 1990, through the present, as well as Afghanistan, Syria, Djibouti, or Uzbekistan on or after September 19, 2001.
This eligibility applies to new claims and appeals, pending claims, and claims pending in a VBA decision review lane (e.g., HLRs and supplemental claims).
In accordance with 38 CFR §3.114 and §3.400, presumptive service connection for these conditions based on exposure to particulate matter cannot be granted earlier than the effective date of the act or administrative issue. As the interim rule will be published on August 5, 2021, the effective date when granting benefits for these conditions on a presumptive basis will not be prior to August 5, 2021.
The Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs issued a news release on this change; it is available here. The interim final rule on the matter will be available at www.regulations.gov within the next week.