Lou Gehrig's Disease - Motor Neuron Disease - Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Thought it had been cured by now? Still no known cause. Still no cure. Still quickly fatal. Still outrageous.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Dear Abby Readers Learned About ALS in Veterans Today

Today was certainly a good one for getting the word out about ALS and veterans' presumptive disability.

DEAR ABBY: In May 2001, you printed my letter alerting former prisoners of war and their widows to the special veterans' benefits available to them from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The response was great; many former POWs and their dependents now have their VA benefits because of that column.

Now, as chairman of VA outreach for American Ex- Prisoners of War, I write to alert all veterans (not just former POWs) of a recent VA ruling.

On Sept. 23, 2008, Lou Gehrig's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, was made a presumptive condition for all veterans who served in our armed forces for at least 90 days.

This means that the widows of those vets who died of Lou Gehrig's disease in the past are eligible for the VA widows' monthly benefit, which is very substantial. Many people are not aware that a veteran's death due to this disease is now considered service-connected. One claim I handled recently involved an ALS death 46 years ago, in 1963.

Thank you for your help in getting the word out, Abby.

- Fred Campbell,
American Ex-Prisoners of War

DEAR FRED: I'm pleased to help you and America's veterans once again. Readers, Fred welcomes inquiries at 3312 Chatterton Drive, San Angelo, TX 76904. He can also be e-mailed

Fred Campbell of the American Ex-Prisoners of War continues to serve his country and Abby in syndication has spread the word far and wide. The scintillating headline on the column didn't hurt, either ;-)


  1. My husband died of ALS in Nov. 1998. He was in
    the Army from 1965 to 1967. I answered a survey after his death regarding ALS on his behalf. This is the first I've heard of it being service connected. From diagnosis to death was 5 months.

  2. Dear Shari Rader,

    My husband died of ALS in August of 2006. He was in the Army from 1965 to 1967 also. He was stationed at Colorado Springs, Colorado. This is the first I've heard of it being service connected. From diagnosis to death was one and a half years. Post a Comment

  3. My Husband suffered for 2 years from time of diagnosis, He was a top runner from high school and college and then served 24 years, 71-95 as a firefighter in the USAF serving all over the world. A strong man pulled down from ALS. I am still raising a 16 year old and now loosing my home and pray for this to be of some help.I will continue to pray for all who are afflicted with ALS and those loved one standing beside. Thank you all for forwarding this info.

  4. Someone gave my neighbor this newspaper article, within about 6 months, after filling out the paperwork she is getting $1000+ a month, plus back compensation, and possibly $ for burriel expenses, and other perks such as loans or grants to go to college if she needs it. I'm just writing this to say, yes this is true, pursue it , don't give up, I've paid enough damn $ intt taxes, and if anyone deserves help, its a spouse who has given their time to take care of someone who has died of ALS. Spread the word please! There is no cure for als, but it sure does make you smile when the Gov does do something right for once!