Local News

Government Extends Deadline for Gulf

Posted May 5, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Gulf War Syndrome sufferers received good news Monday from the government. They will be able to file disability claims with Washington through the year 2001, and for Robert Walker that was good news.

After 14 years of service with the 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg, Walker was medically discharged after returning home from the Gulf War in 1991. Walker suffers from sleeping disorders, nervousness, rashes, memory loss, and back pain, all resulting, he believes, from exposure to chemical weapons during the war in the Persian Gulf.

For the past year, Walker has been fighting the Office of Veterans' Affairs in Washington for an answer to his claim for disability compensation. Walker believes that the battle with the government over the money has hurt his family most of all.

Walker says that the extension of the deadline may benefit his claim. He feels that today's announcement is a step in the right direction, althought it may take awhile.

Until now, only veterans with symptoms within two years after the war were eligible for benefits. Of the 66,000 Gulf War vets who have filed claims with the government for disability compensation, 28,000 currently receive benefits. That number is expected to surge in the years ahead.