November 9, 2021
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) states that more than 28,000 cases of MS are reported among Veterans annually in the VA System.
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, a 2008 Congressional briefing examined MS among veterans. Two U.S. veterans living with MS and a neurologist with the VA's MS Centers of Excellence testified on Capitol Hill. Legislators and staff came together and examined the increased risk and prevalence of the disease among U.S. veterans and explored the need for increased federal funding in MS research.
New evidence at the time showed a potential link between the incidence of MS and combat service. A study published in the Annals of Neurology in 2004 identified 5,345 cases of MS among U.S. veterans that were deemed "service-connected."
Service-connected (SC) status refers to Veterans who are disabled by an injury or disease that was caused or aggravated by military service or occurred while serving in the military. MS is a presumptive condition, which means that it is presumed that the disability is caused by military service if diagnosed within a certain time frame. For MS, the presumption is that MS is service connected when symptoms or a diagnosis of MS occurred during military service or within seven years after honorable discharge.
If this sounds like you or someone you know there are programs that can offer help, assistance and a ThermApparel Cooling Vest.
Multiple Sclerosis Centers of Excellence and the VA Benefits and Services for Veterans with Multiple Sclerosis
As a Veteran with MS, you may be eligible for VA’s many programs and services. Access to VA health care is based upon your enrollment eligibility and discharge status from active military service. If not already enrolled, information on how to apply for VA health care can be found on the VA Benefits and Health Care website. Once enrolled, you may find that navigating the large, and sometimes complex, range of VA benefits and grants can be confusing. Luckily, your VA health care team is here to assist you. It is important for Veterans receiving VA health care to know who their assigned Primary Care Team or MS social worker is. These providers can help you navigate VA services. They can also connect you to a Veteran Service Organization (VSO)
In addition to VA care and services, the National MS Society (NMSS) is an official partner of the VA. If you find yourself in need of additional information, resources, and support call a NMSS Navigator directly at 800-344-4867 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. If desired, your VA provider, nurse coordinator, or social worker can complete a MS Navigator referral form along with a VA health release form (VA form 10-5345) to talk with the MS Navigator on your behalf.
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