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Post-Service Diseases Related to Exposure to Ionizing Radiation

There are certain diseases that may be service-connected if the disease occurred as a result of the Veteran being exposed to ionizing radiation during military service.

The diseases for which service connection may be granted include different types of cancer. For a complete list of diseases, see 38 CFR 3.311(b)(2).

Eligibility Requirements

  • You must be a Veteran who was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.
  • You must have been exposed to ionizing radiation during military service in one of the following ways:
    • As a participant in atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons, OR
    • As a participant in the post-war occupation of Hiroshima or Nagasaki, OR
    • As a prisoner of war in Japan, OR
    • While performing other radiation-risk activities, such as working as an x-ray technician, or work in a reactor plant, in nuclear medicine, or radiography (Your exposure to ionizing radiation must have occurred when serving on active duty, or as a member of a reserve component of the Armed Forces during a period of active duty for training or inactive duty training), OR
    • While performing tasks similar to work by a Department of Energy (DOE) employee that qualifies the DOE employee as a member of the Special Exposure Cohort (see 42 U.S.C. 7384L(14))
  • You have one of the radiogenic diseases listed in 38 CFR 3.311(b)(2) OR an unlisted disease for which a medical opinion shows a relationship between the disease and exposure to radiation
  • The radiogenic disease has manifested within a certain period of time as shown in 38 CFR 3.311(b)(5) 

Evidence Requirements

  • The evidence must show the existence of a radiogenic disease listed in 38 CFR 3.311(a), or an unlisted disease for which a medical opinion has been submitted showing a relationship between the disease and exposure to radiation.
  • The service records must show exposure to ionizing radiation.

The VA will request all of your pertinent service records.

Note: The VA will request an estimate of your level or range of radiation exposure. The request will be sent to the appropriate military service or the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. When dose estimates are reported at a range to which a Veteran may have been exposed, the highest level of the dose range is accepted. See 38 CFR 3.311(b)(5) for more information.

How to Apply

For more information on how to apply and for tips on making sure your claim is ready to be processed by VA, visit our How to Apply page.