Saturday, July 24, 2010

VA Fast Letter to Claims Staff To Clarify “Medically Unexplained Chronic Multisystem Illness” for Gulf War Claims

Comp & Pen Director calls IBS, FM, CFS “examples” of medically unexplained chronic multisymptom illnesses, not “exclusive list”

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

July 21, 2010                                                                  

Director (00/21)                                                             

In Reply Refer To:  211AAll   

Regional Offices and Centers                                Fast Letter 10-26VA

SUBJ:  Revisions to 38 C.F.R. § 3.317 to clarify the Meaning of “Medically Unexplained Chronic Multisystem Illness” Related to Gulf War and Southwest Asia Service


This letter provides information on a regulatory change being developed by VA to clarify the  meaning of a diagnosed “medically unexplained chronic multisymptom illness” for disability claims based on Gulf War and Southwest Asia service.   


VA has statutory authority under 38 U.S.C. § 1117 to compensate Veterans for qualifying chronic disabilities resulting from Gulf War and Southwest Asia service when the disability is an “undiagnosed illness” or a diagnosed “medically unexplained chronic multisymptom illness.”  Section 1117 provides the following as examples of qualifying diagnosed multisymptom illnesses:  chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, and fibromyalgia.  However, the regulatory language of section 3.317 implementing the statute suggests that these three diagnosed illnesses are an exclusive listing, rather than just examples. 

Regulatory Change

VA is revising § 3.317 to clarify that the three listed diagnosed multisymptom illnesses are not exclusive, but rather are examples that can serve to inform VA medical examiners and adjudicators of the general types of medically unexplained chronic multisymptom illnesses that may qualify for service connection under the § 1117 authority.  


Submit questions concerning this fast letter to your Veterans Service Officer (VSO).

Bradley G. Mayes 


Compensation and Pension Service

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