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Veterans with Multiple Sclerosis


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The National MS Society is collaborating with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) MS Centers of Excellence to improve care and support services for veterans with multiple sclerosis and their families.

U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs - MS Centers of Excellence

In 2003 the Department of Veterans Affairs established the VA MS Centers of Excellence (MSCoE). The MSCoE utilize a network of regional programs, telemedicine and informatics to:
  • improve care for veterans with MS,
  • enhance MS education for patients, caregivers and providers
  • promote research into the causes and treatments for MS.
Learn more at the MSCoE website.

The MSCoE consist of coordinating centers in Seattle, Washington, and Portland, Oregon, for the western US, and in Baltimore, Maryland, for the eastern U.S., and approximately 70 regional MS programs distributed throughout the US. Find the nearest VA clinics and MS Centers of Excellence.

VA benefits

If you are a veteran diagnosed with MS within 7 years of your separation from the military, the Veterans Health Administration may classify your illness as related to your military service and award you a “service-connected” disability. You may still be eligible if you separated from the military more than 7 years ago: you must have a diagnosis by a healthcare provider, preferably a neurologist, who links the symptoms you had during those 7 years directly to your current diagnosis.  Some veterans have had success by using a "nexus" letter.

To find out if you are eligible, read the VA eligibility criteria or call the VA benefits line at 800-827-1000.

When applying for benefits, make sure you have a complete and ongoing journal of:
  • All of your symptoms. Include dates, duration, severity, names of medical providers, and any witnesses who can attest to the limitations imposed by your MS.
  • Questions for your healthcare providers. Take it with you to all medical appointments.
  • File of all your medical records (military and non-military). You must have a copy of your DD Form 214 and documentation of all your medical information to date. This information could help support a case for future rating increases.
Call your local Paralyzed Veterans of America service office a 800-424-8200 or another accredited veterans service organization to ensure you receive all your entitled VA benefits.

Additional resources

  • Disabled American Veterans: Free assistance to veterans and their families in obtaining disability compensation benefits and services earned through military service and provided by the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA), the U.S. Dept. of Defense (DOD) and other government agencies.
  • Paralyzed Veterans of America: Veterans with MS often qualify for VA benefits and healthcare. PVA can help navigate the system and access benefits.
  • Wounded Warrior Project: Provides unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.
  • Easter Seals: From physical rehabilitation and job training to adapted recreation, Easter Seals offers a variety of services to help people with disabilities address life’s challenges and achieve personal goals.
  • VA MS Centers of Excellence Spring 2016 Newsletter
Featured Video

A Veteran's Perspective

While serving as an officer on the bridge of the USS Bonhomme Richard in 2009, Donnie Horner was diagnosed with MS.


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