GULF WAR WEB SITE
My webmistress just checked into to the status on the Persian Gulf War Illness Compensation Act of 2001. She received a reply from Julie Fischer, who works for Senator John D. Rockefeller IV who is on the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs. She replied with some good news. The Veterans' Benefits Improvement Act of 2001 passed the House and Senate in mid-December of 2001, and was signed into law by President Bush on December 27, 2001 as Public Law 107-103.
Ms. Fischer stated that the law is not yet available in printable form from the Government Printing Office, but did send text that she thought that I, and my fellow soldiers would be interested in. This text is as follows:
SEC. 202. PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION FOR PERSIAN GULF WAR VETERANS WITH CERTAIN CHRONIC DISABILITIES.
(a) ILLNESSES THAT CANNOT BE CLEARLY DEFINED - (1) Subsection (a) of section 1117 is amended to read as follows:
`(a) (1) The Secretary may pay compensation under this subchapter to a Persian Gulf veteran with a qualifying chronic disability that became manifest --
`(A) during service on active duty in the Armed Forces in the Southwest Asia theater of operations during the Persian Gulf War; or
(B) to a degree of 10 percent or more during the presumptive period prescribed under subsection (b).
`(2) For purposes of this subsection, the term 'qualifying chronic disability' means a chronic disability resulting from any of the following (or any combination of any of the following):
`(A) An undiagnosed illness.
`(B) A medically unexplained chronic multisymptom illness (such as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome) that is defined by a cluster of signs or symptoms.
`(C) Any diagnosed illness that the Secretary determines in regulations prescribed under subsection (d) warrants a presumption of service-connection.'.
(2) Subsection (c) (1) of such section is amended --
(A) in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by striking 'for an undiagnosed illness (or combination of undiagnosed illnesses)'; and
(B) in subparagraph (A), by by striking 'for such illness (or combination of illnesses)'.
(b) SIGNS OR SYMPTOMS THAT MAY INDICATE UNDIAGNOSED ILLNESSES - (1) Such section is further amended by adding at the end of the following new subsection:
`(g) For purposes of this section, signs or symptoms that may be a manifestation of an undiagnosed illness or a chronic multisymptom illness include the following:
`(2) Unexplained rashes or other dermatological signs or symptoms.
`(4) Muscle pain.
`(5) Joint pain.
`(6) Neurological signs and symptoms.
`(7) Neuropsychological signs or symptoms.
`(8) Signs or symptoms involving the upper or lower respiratory system.
`(9) Sleep disturbances.
`(10) Gastrointestinal signs or symptoms.
`(11) Cardiovascular signs or symptoms.
`(12) Abnormal weight loss.
`(13) Menstrual disorders.'.
(2) Section 1118 (a) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
`(4) For purposes of this section, signs or symptoms that may be a manifestation of an undiagnosed illness include the signs and symptoms listed in section 1117 (g) of this title.'.
(c) EFFECTIVE DATE - The amendments made by subsections (a) and (b) shall take effect on March 1, 2002.
(d) CLARIFICATION OF AUTHORITY TO PRESUME SERVICE-CONNECTION FOR ADDITIONAL DISEASES - (1) Sections 1117 (c) (2) and 1118 (e) are each amended by striking `10 years' and all that follows through `of 1998' and inserting on September 30, 2011'.
(2) Section 1603 (j) of the Persian Gulf War Veterans Act of 1998 (38 U.S.C. 1117 note) is amended by striking `10 years' and all that follows and inserting `on October 1, 2010.'.
SEC. 203 PRESERVATION OF SERVICE CONNECTION FOR UNDIAGNOSED ILLNESSES TO PROVIDE FOR PARTICIPATION IN RESEARCH PROJECTS BY PERSIAN GULF WAR VETERANS.
(a) AUTHORITY FOR SECRETARY TO PROVIDE FOR PARTICIPATION WITHOUT LOSS OF BENEFITS - Section 1117 is amended by adding after subsection (g), as added by section 202 (b), the following subsection:
`(h) (1) If the Secretary determines with respect to a medical research project sponsored by the Department that it is necessary for the conduct of the project that the Persian Gulf veterans in receipt of compensation under this section or section 1118 of this title participate in the project without the possibility of loss of service connection under either such section, the Secretary shall provide that service connection granted under either such section for disability of a veteran who participated in the research project may not be terminated. Except as provided in paragraph (2), notwithstanding any other provision of law any grant of service-connection protected under this subsection shall remain service-connected for purposes of all provisions of law under this title.
`(2) Paragraph (1) does not apply in a case in which --
`(A) the original award of compensation or service connection was based on fraud; or
`(B) it is clearly shown from military records that the person concerned did not have the requisite service or character of discharge.
`(3) The Secretary shall publish in the Federal Register a list of medical research projects sponsored by the Department for which service connection granted under this section or section 1118 of this title may not be terminated pursuant to paragraph (1).'.
(b) EFFECTIVE DATE - The authority provided by subsection (h) of section 1117 of title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), may be used by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs with respect to any medical research project of the Department of Veterans Affairs, whether commenced before, on, or after the date of the enactment of this Act.
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