Veterans and Parkinson’s
The Parkinson’s Foundation and the VA have partnered to improve the health, well-being, and quality of life for veterans living with Parkinson’s. Key resources are available through the Parkinson’s Foundation and the VA to help veterans and their loved ones live better with PD.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) estimates that there are more than 110,000 veterans living with Parkinson’s disease (PD) in the U.S. The Parkinson’s Foundation is here to help. Find resources tailored to the veteran community at Parkinson.org/Veterans or by calling the Parkinson’s Foundation Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (1-800-473-4636).
Medical Care & Treatment
Many U.S. military veterans with Parkinson’s have access to specialized medical care and financial assistance through the VA. The VA treats veterans with Parkinson’s through medical centers known as Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education & Clinical Centers (PADRECCs). Visit parkinsons.va.gov or call 1-800-949-1001 x205769 to learn more about how to access care through the PADRECCs and their Consortium network. To apply for VA healthcare visit va.gov/health-care/how-to-apply or call 1-800-827-1000.
Agent Orange and Toxic Exposures
In some cases, a Parkinson’s diagnosis can be linked to Agent Orange or other herbicide exposure from a veteran’s military service. The powerful herbicide was used in Vietnam from 1962 to 1975 but was also used and stored in other locations. Veterans may be eligible for a free Agent Orange registry exam, disability compensation and other VA benefits. To learn more call the Agent Orange Helpline at 1-800-749-8387.
Veterans living with Parkinson’s may qualify for financial benefit programs to help cope with financial challenges. Service members, veterans and families can apply for various VA benefits by:
- Applying online at eBenefits.va.gov
- Working with an accredited representative or VSO.
- Federal law prohibits attorneys and others from charging a fee to assist with the VA application.
- Calling the VA’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-827-1000, Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET
Caring for a Veteran with Parkinson’s
The care partner experience is unique to every individual. The Parkinson’s Foundation and VA have resources specially designed for those caring for a veteran with Parkinson’s. Regardless of whether you are early in the journey, caring from a long distance, or supporting a loved one in the advanced stages of Parkinson’s, we have the resources to help.
Every person living with Parkinson’s should be prepared for a possible hospitalization including veterans and their care partners. Visit Parkinson.org/AwareInCare to learn more and order your own Hospital Safety kit or download the kit components.
Mental health concerns like depression and anxiety are common in people with PD. They can be the result of living with a chronic condition, but they can also be a symptom of the disease itself and changes in the brain. Be aware of these symptoms and don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor. Keep the Veterans Crisis Line number nearby, just in case: 1-877-222-8387, press 1 or text 838255.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Guide
The FAQ Guide for veterans with Parkinson’s and their care partners provides an overview of important disease information and the services and resources available to the veteran community. You can download the free information guide at Parkinson.org/VeteransFAQ.
For the latest information about Veterans and Parkinson’s visit Parkinson.org/Veterans.
Your local Chapter can help you find nearby programs, support groups and resources. To find your local Parkinson’s Foundation chapter, visit Parkinson.org/InYourArea.