President Clinton extends ‘presumptive period’ for illnesses

WASHINGTON, April 2, 1997 (GulfLINK) - President Clinton has extended from two to 10 years the time in which veterans with undiagnosed illnesses stemming from the Gulf War may be eligible for benefits.

Congress enacted legislation in 1994 allowing veterans to receive compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for the first time in history for "undiagnosed illnesses."

President Clinton extended the previous two-year time limit to 10 years - or until 2001 - in his White House announcement March 7.

"We aim to raise significantly the window for Gulf veterans to claim the compensation they have earned," Clinton said. "Gulf War veterans who became ill as a result of their service should receive the compensation they deserve, even if science cannot yet pinpoint the cause of their illnesses."

VA Secretary Jesse Brown said, "Gulf War veterans served honorably and some are now suffering. It will take time for us to find all the answers - but, until we do, we must provide them with the disability compensation they deserve."

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